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July 10, 2020

A flag with no white

Newspost

 
July 10, 2020

With forced conversions, sexual violence, abductions for ransom, and countless other forms of discrimination on the rise against the largest minority in Pakistan one can only sit back and contemplate how frequently the Quaid would be turning in his grave upon hearing the horrifying atrocities being committed on a daily basis in the state he struggled countless years to establish. “You are free; you are free to go to your temples. You are free to go to your mosques or to any other places of worship in this State of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion, caste or creed – that has nothing to do with the business of the state” – Muhammad Ali Jinnah

The Islamic Republic of Pakistan is home to eight million Hindus, while the Capital holds a Hindu population of around 3,000. Construction of the Sri Krishna Mandir in H-9/2 commenced with great enthusiasm, backed by Prime Minister Imran Khan’s government. However, soon after the announcement the construction of the temple was met with fierce opposition. Various right-wing forces proceeded to launch vitriolic attacks on those supporting the construction. The PML-Q, a party that claims to subscribe to the ideas of Jinnah, also resorted to hate-mongering by throwing their support behind the opposition to the temple. Seventy years later, the Pakistan that the Quaid had hoped to build seems to have faded into the whispers of those who preach intolerance. Stern opposition from religious extremist forces and the government’s inability to address the growing extremism has allowed bigotry to prevail against an already marginalized community. Thirteen hundred kilometers to the south of the capital, incidents of abductions, forced conversions, Hindu minor girls being subject to sexual violence and destruction of temples continue unabated in the province of Sindh. Stories gruesome enough to petrify anyone and have them ponder whether tolerance holds any meaning in the 'Islamic' Republic of Pakistan.

Ali Hassan Sattar

Islamabad