Why exactly Hindus, or for that matter any other minority, should migrate from Pakistan
When the Hajr-e-Aswad was placed on a sheet it was lifted by representatives of all the tribes of Qureish. Only when it was at the right level did the Prophet (pbuh) put the stone into its place himself. With all tribes equally involved, sensibilities remained unruffled. The obvious lesson is the importance of even handedness and an all round concerted effort in handling issues. After all, had the sheet not been lifted equally from all sides, the stone, inadequately supported, could not have been raised.
The myriad problems of Pakistan cannot be blamed on corruption alone or on a lack of or poor education. Politicians alone are not responsible, nor does responsibility lie individually with the absence of law, order, justice, or accountability, the widespread poverty of the Pakistani people or their fallacious interpretation of religion. All these factors compound the situation together, and the only solution is a joint effort to bring about change on all these fronts, by everyone involved to the exclusion of no community.
Minorities in Pakistan face abuse which is at best marginalisation, at worst a threat to their beliefs and existence. The problem has been identified many times over, but it persists and has worsened, because no measures have been taken against it. Instead, these and other issues are used for political mileage.
Hundreds of workers died as a result of a factory blaze in Baldia Town, Karachi, a heartrending tragedy for which blame can be laid at many doors. Following this event Mr Nawaz Sharif chose to visit Karachi to offer his condolences to families of the victims, point a few pudgy fingers at the Sindh government, and gain some points in the process. In the Punjab, meanwhile, another factory went up in flames, claiming several other lives.
Mr Sharif asked the Hindu community in Sindh not to leave Pakistan (it is terrible how the government is ignoring the minorities in Sindh, he said), while back in his own province an entire Christian community was drummed out of its homes by a violent mob, and Rimsha, a minor girl, was arrested for alleged blasphemy. His other remarks on the occasion ranged from a criticism of Sindh’s Local Government Ordinance (it doesn’t make sense, it won’t work, it wasn’t discussed with everyone) to the monsoons and the havoc wrought by the rain in Sindh (the provincial government should concentrate on this rather than on the Local Government Ordinance).
In the Rimsha case which also made no sense, neither the political nor the religious leadership lifted a finger to help her community, displaced because of a mob that went unchecked by the law enforcing authorities. The public and the police, no doubt continues under the impression that such behavior is sanctioned by Islam. The sentiment is, after all, ratified every Friday, reinforced in schools, and sanctioned by a law that everyone is too scared to criticize or amend, much less discard. Understandably so, considering what happens to those who try.
The repercussions have spread. An unemployed Christian man was wary of accepting employment in the home of a lady who wears hijab in spite of repeated assurances that she was not ‘like that’.
Like what, exactly, is ‘like that’? ‘Like that’, sadly, is the rapidly growing misconception that Muslims are a rabid, monstrous, violent lot. Once again, understandably, given the worldwide reaction to worthless videos put together by puerile minds.
Even though some NGOs and individuals work bravely to tackle the issues on the ground, religious institutions and schools continue to promote divisiveness and intolerance. The back of every rickshaw sports a rogue’s gallery of bearded individuals who collected recently to condemn the Ahmadiya community and demand that they be ‘monitored’. Mr Sharif’s brother, the Chief Minister, is also promoted on the back of rickshaws as the patron saint of the ‘green CNG scheme’ or some such thing, but neither Sharif appears to be taking measures to change the status quo on the minority issue, to mention just one.
On Pakistani passport forms, for some inexplicable reason, there still is a field for ‘religion’, where all Muslims are still required to declare their rejection of the Ahmadiya belief. In the Punjab, some official forms still contain fields for the caste status of applicants. There is no public awareness campaign targeting divisions of caste in this, supposedly a Muslim, country.
So, for now, the stone remains on the ground, in which case, why should the Hindus (or anyone else) not migrate?
The writer is a freelance columnist. Read more by her at http://rabia-ahmed.blogspot.com/