A senseless action
While President Zardari reiterated on the World Minorities Day on Thursday that minorities would be provided full protection, over two hundred Hindus with valid travel visas were stopped from travelling to India on the Wagah border. Speaking to the media Rehman Malik questioned why India had granted so many visas “without ascertaining the facts”. He maintained this was an indication of a conspiracy against Pakistan. A Hindu leader belonging to Jacobabad has revealed what he considers to be “the facts”. Most of those traveling to India on plea of visiting the shrines had in fact decided to migrate because of the sense of insecurity prevailing in the community in Sindh and Balochistan. Rehman Malik must have come across reports frequently appearing in the Pakistani media regarding the kidnapping of Hindu businessmen and professionals for ransom in both the provinces. Stories of forced conversion of Hindu girls have also made headlines in the media. In a few cases the Supreme Court had also initiated an enquiry. JSQM leader Abdul Wahid Arisar says the government is responsible for creating conditions which are forcing the Hindu community to migrate.
Sindh suffered a lot when Hindus were forced to migrate to India in the wake of 1947 as a result of stage managed riots by the vested interest. These riots were strongly condemned by Jinnah. Those who were forced to migrate included doctors, lawyers and highly educated people. Their departure caused a brain drain in the province. Among those who migrated were also people possessing entrepreneurial skills. The migration was a loss to the province as well as the country.
The persecution of minorities is an all too common phenomenon in the country. Besides Hindus, Christians, Ahmadis and Shias are also the target of the extremist elements and militant groups. The laws that militate against the minorities continue to be on the statute book despite repeated promises by Musharraf and then Zardari to change them. No action is taken against those who spread hatred against the minorities. It goes to the discredit of the government that it has left the entire population in the country, irrespective of religion or sect, at the mercy of the extremists. An ineffective and unimaginative Rehman Malik routinely offers conspiracy as an explanation for his failures. It was highly regrettable to stop the members of the Hindu community holding valid visas from traveling to India. The senseless action by the interior ministry would not bring good name to Pakistan.