The Sordid State Of Minorities In Pakistan

On the eve of the Hindu spring festival of Holi this March, two teenage sisters, Raveena (age 13-14) and Reena (age 15-16), were abducted, forced to marry and converted to Islam in Pakistan. The issue highlights the sordid state of minorities in not only Pakistan but also in other countries in the subcontinent.

Because of the constant threats that the minorities face in Pakistan, the communities are petrified to voice their concerns to relevant authorities, who in most cases could look the other way, for justice, which could be prejudiced. Because these communities do not speak up against crime committed against them, Pakistan can claim that minorities are relatively safe out there (the argument used would be that if the minorities were harmed, they would speak up). This process creates a vicious cycle for these communities where if they speak up, they are targeted more, and if they don’t speak up, they still continue to serve as soft targets in an environment where others pretend or perceive these communities to be safe. Various reports suggest that the Hindu population is in constant decline in Pakistan and Bangladesh. The reasons for the decrease in numbers include systematic elimination of the population, forced conversion to Islam and migration out of these countries.

It is not just non-Muslim communities that are targeted. For example, in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK), which includes regions such as Azad, which ironically means “free”, Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan, the population is oppressed, the natural resources exploited, and the development of locals thwarted (or they would rise up to challenge the status quo). Provinces such as Baluchistan, which believes that it was conned into becoming a part of Pakistan, regularly ask for independence.

On one hand, Pakistan oppresses both non-Muslims and “unrelated/unimportant” Muslim communities, and on the other hand, it encourages Muslims in the Muslim majority area of Kashmir Valley in India to gain freedom from a secular India to create an Islamic State. In order to do that and eliminate resistance to the formation of such a state, the Hindu population was forced to move out of the Valley by targeting it with extreme violence and terrorism (the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits for example).

Such actions suggest that a policy to convert Muslim majority areas in other countries to Islamic States is in play. And where Muslims are a minority, the population is encouraged to enjoy secularism to avail the opportunity to practice Islam relatively freely. The majority in Bangladesh act along similar lines as well.  

It should be noted that one should not imply that in other countries, the majority behaves differently. However, the degree of severity appears to be much less. The issues while present in other countries are not as widespread as in these countries where oppressed people cannot even voice their concerns. In general, irrespective of their race and religion, women, seniors and kids suffer in the subcontinent, China, etc., but that issue could be covered in a separate topic.

For more on the plight of the Hindu sisters in Pakistan, please refer to the link: https://www.rt.com/news/454730-hindu-girls-india-pakistan/

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