I never thought I would be able to put the following words in a sentence ‘Pakistan will be recognised as a minorities-friendly country” because it is simply not true. Fact is in Pakistans minorities face the most discrimination and it is all perpetuated in the name of its state religion, Islam. After the partition in 1947 many sacred Hindu temples came under the control of Muslims and I use the word Muslims because the pretext of forming Pakistan was to give a safe haven for Muslims in the Indian subcontinent because they were afraid of being under the thumb of Hindus and that was a false equivalence. For nearly eight hundred years Muslims ruled most parts of India and did unspeakable things to Hindus and systematically tried to obliterate a civilization. After that the British took over and ruled us for two hundred years and when freedom was just over the horizon Muslims who are part of India decided to split with the blessings of the British who had other ideas.
But coming to the main topic at hand and the irrefutable facts are, minorities in Pakistan have always been discriminated since its inception in a state of insecurity. But during the initial period, Hindus made eighteen percent of its population along with Sikhs, Christians and Parsis who are the descendents from Persian Zoroastrians. But in just seventy years the Hindu population is now less than one percent and we all know how and why. But in India Muslim population has more than doubled in the last seventy years of independence and live in better economic condition and health services compared to Pakistan. However the economic condition of all the minorities are pitiful living in constant fear and despair.
Pakistan’s absolute hate towards pluralism
India, Hindustan, Bharat has and always have been a pluralistic nation. This is the land which gave birth to the world’s fourth largest religion Buddhism and it can be said with empirical evidence when this religion started to spread it did not use violence, threat and coercion as a means of evangelism. But it has never been the case with Islam because throughout its fourteen hundred years history is written in blood. Pakistan as nation is an insecure nation that refuses to acknowledge its past that it belongs to the great Hindu civilization. But if you acknowledge that past the very grounds on which your country was found would fall because Islam is your identity not humanity. So when a country indentifies through a religion its minorities can never be safe unless there are strong democratic values like Israel.
In Pakistan, the plight of Hindus, Christians, the Baloch who also happen to be Muslims, Shia and the Ahmadiyyas is pitiful. It has been well documented Hindu girls are forcefully taken, converted and married off to Muslim men and once anyone can who has converted to Islam can never revert let alone a hapless teenage girl who now has to spend the rest of her life following tenets of a religion that gives no freedom to women. When Nawaz Sharif says “the day is not far when Pakistan will be recognised as a “minorities-friendly country” I want to ask the following questions to him.
Will you push for a law that will ban forceful conversion of non Muslims?
Will you end the genocide against the people of Balochistan?
Why it took so nearly seventy years to give legal sanctity to Hindu Marriage in Pakistan?
Will your government in Pakistan recognize Ahmadiyyas as Muslims?
Do you have the courage to change the school syllabus that teaches children Hindus and Jews as kaffir be changed?
Is Pakistan willing to end blasphemy laws?
My dear Mr. Nawaz Sharif it is not possible for the minorities in Pakistan to live free as long as the above questions are not answered. When you say all religions have equal rights in Pakistan and only then the country can have peace and prosperity is lie. Until the above questions are not addressed nothing is possible and by fixing an ancient temple if you think you can fool us you are in for a surprise. I am not calling you a bad person but in the words of Edmond Burke “the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing” and for too long good men in Pakistan did nothing or were silenced like Salman Taseer. For nearly seventy years your country has persecuted, murdered and even committed genocide and that cannot be forgotten.
Is change possible? Yes it is possible and India is the example for change. Nearly two hundred million Muslims live in India and they are free, free to practice their religion no matter which sect they belong to. It does not matter if they are Sunni, Shia or Ahmadiyyas their identity is Indian and it says right on their passport. In Pakistan a person has to declare if he or she is not a Ahmadiyya and how humiliating is that since the Ahmadiyyas were one of the driving forces in forcing of the Partition. Also lest we forget, the first Pakistani to win a Noble prize for physics was an Ahmadiyya and he was ostracized and when the physics department was named after him there were protests. The founding father of Pakistan was Shia and Shias are a persecuted and targeted by Sunni terror organization supported by state. Balochistan is the richest and largest state within Pakistan and yet everyday people disappear and later their bodies are found in a mutilated condition and there is documented evidence of “rape camps” where girls and women of separatist are taken and raped by state security.
Every time there is terror attack and the attacker is a Muslim everyone stands up and says in one voice “Islam is a religion of peace” and immediately quotes from Quran are made but the thing is no one is buying it. When there is so much injustice and suffering of people and not just the minorities but also poor majority Sunni Muslims who do not have access to education, healthcare and justice. In the last three weeks five liberal bloggers and activists were kidnapped by either so called non state actors or by the state security and their whereabouts unknown. So, I ask on what grounds you can say, one day Pakistan will be a minority friendly country when it is cruel to its own majority.
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