– There is a lack of awareness across the world about the very existence of a significant yet dwindling Hindu community in Pakistan. Presently it is estimated that Hindus make up 2% of Pakistan’s population. This is at least five times the number of Hindus in Britain.
– Before the end of colonial rule in 1947, the land that was to become Pakistan had a large proportion of Hindus, accounting for over 26% of the population. The Partition of India was the biggest forced migration of people in human history, and was accompanied by large scale massacres. During this period, the population of Hindus dropped to 15% in this region.
– Even though there was heavy risk, many Hindus chose to remain in their ancestral homeland and were promised protection by the Government of Pakistan. However in practice, Hindus found it very difficult to live in Pakistan, where they were very vulnerable and often subject to persecution.
– There was a constant level of crime and harassment against Hindus in Pakistan. The constitution and legal system that was framed for the new country openly discriminated against Hindus. During periods of tension between India and Pakistan, Hindus were killed and expelled in large numbers. In 1965 a law was passed that openly incited and legitimised confiscation of Hindu property. This was called “The Enemy Property Act”. Therefore the Hindu population steadily dropped.
– During 1970 and 1971, huge massacres were perpetrated upon Hindus, by the Pakistani army. A proper study into the casualty figures has never been conducted. Estimates for the number dead are up to 3 million. Millions of Hindu women were raped and kidnapped in this period. It was one of the largest massacres in recent history, and also one of the most ignored.
– In 1977, General Zia ul-Haq led a military coup in Pakistan. He introduced Islamic Law, which further excluded and marginalised Hindus.
– In 1989 and 1992 over 300 Hindu temples were destroyed. Many Hindus lost their homes. The largest outward migration of Hindus from Pakistan since Partition took place during these years.
– Unbelievable as it may seem, Hindus still exist in Pakistan, numbering over 2.5 million. The Hindu population is largest in the Sindh province, but there are Hindu communities dotted all over Pakistan. They suffer constant threats against their security, property and lives. Hindus in Pakistan have to live a very low profile existence, and have to put up with many insults to their honour and dignity, with no legal safeguards. They authorities in the country rarely intervene to help Hindus, and often make matters worse. There are regular reports of kidnapping of Hindu women and children, looting of Hindu property, and other forms of discrimination, persecution and dehumanisation.
– Unfortunately the international media and human rights groups do not take much of an interest in all this. Together with the apathy of the general public around the world, this has meant that the Hindus of Pakistan remain a forgotten and voiceless people. The brutality that has been melted out to the Hindus in Pakistan knows few parallels in history.
– Until decent minded people across the world show concern for the fate of the helpless and speak out for those without a voice, there is little hope for the Hindu men, women and children who remain in Pakistan.
Powered by Facebook Comments