Hindu Human Rights protested outside the Pakistan Embassy London on Sunday the 15th of August to end Pakistan blasphemy laws and ongoing persecution of minorities. Community concern is growing after an eight year old boy in the Punjab was imprisoned for a week over allegations of blasphemy. Outdated Colonial Era laws written by the British rulers were recrafted by Pakistan to exclude protections to Ahmadis and ‘Islamicise them’. Pakistan has a long standing history of persecuting minorities, including Hindu, Christians, Balochis, Sikhs and Sindhis, all of whom were represented at the HHR protest. Other UK Hindu organisations attended by public invitation.
HHR chairperson Ranbir Singh spoke to India Today about the persecution of Hindus in Pakistan and expressed concern that the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child had been violated by charging the child for blasphemy despite being released on bail. Later, the charges were found unconstitutional in the first place due to the age and mental health of the child. Hindu Human Rights are concerned that, considering the extent of the violations against them that ensued, appropriate measures have not been taken, nor assurance given to the Hindu community around the world that the safety of minorities in Pakistan is paramount and that a full inquiry be undertaken as per the requests of the Indian Government.
After the court released the child on bail, the Hindu community were violently attacked by angry mobs. Reports say a known ‘firebrand cleric’, Razzaq Soomro incited the violence. A Ganesh Temple was extensively demolished, the Gods desecrated and burnt whilst bystanders watched and close to 100 locals including small children participated. Nearby Hindu homes and businesses were attacked and many residents forced to flee. Hindu Human Rights expressed concern for the child’s safety and that of the entire community without extensive community safety protections. The danger to the boy’s life is affirmed by the family being held in police protective custody.
Ex Mayor of Karachi, and Human Rights Activist, Arif Aajaki said for Pakistan’s minorities, ‘their right to life, their right to freedom of speech, freedom of gathering, freedom of faith – every right is violated persistently with impunity.’ He told India Today that 150 Hindu families were thrown out of Rahim Yar district due to the incidents. Aajaki demanded Pakistan protect and cease its ‘persistent persecution and terrorism against minorities who have lived in the region for thousands of years’.
Rashmi Samant spoke against Hindu persecution and stated that it was a responsibility of her generation to raise their voices against injustice. Insight UK spokesperson said Pakistan refuse to listen to the UN Declaration of Human Rights. He said he would be talking to the UK and US Government to sanction Pakistan. Generation Z Hindus expressed their feeling that each and every Hindu’s voice should be listened to on the brutality of Pakistan against Hindus. Another unnamed protestor said the people of Pakistan were not being transparent about the numbers of Hindu girls forcibly taken from their families. Hindu Human Rights will be taking matters forward, including further action on the ground.
With Taliban taking power in Afghanistan the threat to a peaceful democratic Pakistan, especially for minorities is inevitable. Taliban openly boast of their support from elements that govern Pakistan. Hence the situation facing minorities in that state looks ominous unless pressure is applied. Regrettably, even without the Taliban threat that looms large, minorities find that the only way they can survive if made targets of religious fanaticism is to somehow find asylum abroad. It is important to break that downward spiral.