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February 26, 2020

Provinces directed to protect Hindus

Top Story

February 26, 2020

LAHORE: In the wake of communal violence against Muslim minorities all over the ‘Republic of India’, especially New Delhi, the Pakistan government, in a preemptive move, has directed all provinces to protect Hindu minorities from any untoward incident.

Sources told The News the Home Department, Punjab, on the instruction of the Ministry of Interior, has directed the inspector general of police, Punjab, the regional police officers and the commissioners to monitor the situation and make sure the safety of minorities. According to the sources, the Home Department’s directives referred to the Pakistani Mission in New Delhi which had informed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, citing Indian media reports that the number of Pakistani Hindus going to India has increased exponentially over the past few months. It seems that India is trying to expand its propaganda of religious persecution of minorities in Pakistan. Over the last two months, 1,000 and 1,200 Pakistani Hindus have crossed the Wagah border in December 2019 and January 2020 respectively. Furthermore, the Indian media reported that 200 Pakistani Hindus, some seeking asylum, crossed the Wagah border. BJP leaders are trying to showcase India as a safe haven for ‘persecuted’ minorities in Pakistan since the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Act 2019.

The Ministry of Interior refused to comment on the issue as its spokesperson and Additional Secretary Abdul Aziz Uqaili told The News that the directives were issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Aisha Farooqi, confirmed the directives and said they were issued to protect Hindu minorities in Pakistan. “The BJP government always tries to create law and order problems in Pakistan as an issue of minorities security in Pakistan to divert attention from its own policies of persecuting minorities, particularly Muslims,” she said and added the government of Pakistan is committed to promoting and securing the rights of minorities. Opening of the Kartarpur Corridor is a shining example of this national policy.

“The Indian media has a consistent pattern of maligning Pakistan by fabricating stories of persecution of minorities. Given the worst treatment of minorities in India, particularly the Muslims, India simply does not have any credentials to point finger at Pakistan,” she said, adding that the constitution of Pakistan guarantees equal rights to all its citizens. The government of Pakistan has a zero tolerance policy for any discrimination against minorities.

Talking to The News, the Hindu MNA of the ruling PTI, Dr Ramesh Kumar Vankwani said he knew some Hindus from Sukkur Division, Sindh, who applied for asylum in India in recent past, citing Indian media that 80 families applied for asylum sometimes back. He said Hindus usually traveled to India to visit their holy places, but commented that some of them could have applied for asylum because of feeling threats from the forced conversions and allegations of blasphemy. Referring to Nautan Lal, principal of a private school in Sukkur, the MNA said Nautan was accused of blasphemy but the accusation could not be proved later, and a counter blasphemy case was registered against 50 local Muslims for rioting and attacking a Hindu worship place. Appreciating the safety situation of minorities in Pakistan, Kumar said that even Islamist parties and workers like Maulana Rashed Soomro of the JUI-F protected a local temple from an attack of miscreants.

Ramesh, however, termed seeking asylum in foreign lands as totally against the commandments of Hindu religion. He cited the holy book of Hinduism, Bhagvad Geeta, and said: “Pakistan is like mother for those Hindus since they were born on its soil, and they must not leave their ‘mother’ for petty gains and in violation of their faith.” He said the Hindu faith commanded its believers that they must not betray or leave their motherland. He said those going to India for seeking citizenship would not live a happy life there since the internal situation is not favourable for foreigners there. These Hindus should have stayed in Pakistan which is their motherland since they would be better placed and secured here. He noted that the Pakistan government and the army have been taking commendable measures for the security and freedom of minorities in Pakistan.