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Who will speak for me if I belong to Pakistan’s Minority Community?
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September 16, 2012
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:: ISSUES :: Muslim leadership in contemporary India

Origins of hostility to Indian Muslims

By Abdul Hafiz Gandhi

The test of success of any democratic nation is its fair and equitable treatment to the minorities.
The countries of Indian sub-continent have failed this test very often. There may be difference in degree of failures but these countries have often failed to protect the rights of their minority communities. There have been continuous violation of their rights and the year 2012 is no exception to these failures. Religious minorities in India, Pakistan and Burma were at the receiving end and have faced discrimination, atrocities and violation of their right to life and property. In India religious minorities are the targets of Hindutva brigade, Pakistani society and government grossly discriminate and harass the non-Muslim minorities and all sorts of atrocities including kidnapping their girls, forceful conversions and marriages are performed every now and then; and in Burma Muslim minority became the targets of the majority community, where many Rohingya Muslims lost their lives and property. In neighbouring Bangladesh stories of violence against Hindu minority crop-up frequently with the result that many have fled Bangladesh to seek refuge in the states of West Bengal and Assam. Sri Lanka’s Tamil speaking and Muslim minorities have witnessed indescribable violence for decades.

Seeing all this bloodshed and hatred, we are reminded of the words of Martin Luther King Jr. which he wrote in a letter from Birmingham Jail, April 16, 1963. He wrote ‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.’ Injustice is injustice and needs to be condemned in unequivocal terms. When you do not object to injustice being committed at one place, you give license to somebody to commit the same injustice with you elsewhere. We all live in a so compact world that atrocities and injustices if allowed in a smaller circle, it gives right to the people in the larger circle to commit those same atrocities or injustices with you. Hence, in order to prevent it happening at your place, you need to object to the occurrence of these wrongs at any place – be it in your country or abroad.

Tolerating the acts of injustices committed against disadvantageous groups of people is like being silent and waiting for the perpetrator to turn against you. When Hitler was persecuting the Jews and Communists in Germany others remained silent in the hope that it’s only happening to these two groups of people but these silent and mute breed of other people could not remain safe for longer as Hitler turned his tirade against all whom he considered a threat to his vision for Germany.

Calling spade a spade is a requirement of the all the times. I know that there have been many instances in India where minorities had to bear the brunt. A lot of damage was caused to their life, property and dignity. But despite these aberrations one can say that minorities in India are in far better conditions in comparison to Hindu and Christian minorities in Pakistan and Bangladesh. Many Hindu minority families are fleeing Pakistan for fear of persecution and being converted to Islam. In Balochistan and Sindh where majority of the Hindu minority in Pakistan resides, many cases of girls’ abduction, rapes, forceful marriages and killings have come to the fore. The feeling in Hindus that has developed over a period of time is that it’s better to live in another country than to live there in perpetual fear. Marvi Memon (now with PML-N) in an article in The Express Tribune, 20th October, 2010 observed ‘The Hindu community is peaceful — so what is its biggest sin? It is a minority in a land where there is no rule of law. All that is needed is the political will to go after those involved in these kidnappings — the incidents will stop and our Hindu compatriots will stop fleeing to India.’ The infamous case is of Rinkie, who even approached Supreme Court of Pakistan for safety and security against the alleged forceful marriage of hers by Mian Mithu, Pakistan People’s Party Parliamentarian with his son but alas, forced by dreaded threatening to her family members, she said in the Supreme Court that she had converted to Islam. Not only this, the conversion of a boy Sunil in full media glare is the extreme example of Hindu minority persecution. I shudder to think if same thing would have happened to a Muslim minority boy or a girl in India getting converted to any other faith on the Indian Television, havens would have fallen. Have we ever seen an Indian Muslim being converted to Hinduism in so much media glare? No. But this act of extreme intolerance was committed in Pakistan but the torchbearers of secularism and human rights in the Muslim community did not show any courage to condemn such an inhuman act. Religion is a personal affair and even if the boy had converted to Islamic faith own his free will it should have been kept as a private affair.

Showing it on TV is like turning religion into a tool for mass entertainment. Have we ever thought of the repercussions if Buddhists in Myanmar would have tried to convert a Muslim on a live TV show? Surely, it would have been condemned by everybody, then why this studied silence by the Muslim intellectuals and civil society activists on this televised conversion in Pakistan?

It’s disturbing to note that a situation is fast developing where Muslims will only speak for Muslims and Hindus for Hindus. This must not happen. Human rights violation is a human rights issue and every right thinking person must stand up against these violations without thinking about the religious or other considerations with regard to the victims. There is no such rule that Muslims will raise the issues of Muslims and Hindus of the Hindus only. Fortunately in India various fights for justice for the minorities were fought by non-Muslims. Teesta Setalvad, Harsh Mander, Sanjeev Bhatt, Mukul Sinha, Rahul Sharma, Mallika Sarabhai etc. are some of the activists and concerned citizens who continuously stood for the cause of riots victims of Gujarat.

Their efforts bore fruits and in August, 2012 Maya Kodnani, Babu Bajrangi and 30 other accused were convicted for committing heinous inhuman crimes against minority community in post-Godhra riots. The question which stare us in the face is: how many Muslims opposed the violations of human rights committed against Hindu, Chirstian and non-Sunni Muslim minorities in Pakistan? Why the Muslims in India only see the Hindutva forces’ communalism as dangerous and why they do not oppose the rabid communalism perpetuated in Pakistan on the Hindu and Christian minorities? Communalism anywhere has to be condemned. It can never be the case that Muslim communalism is better than the Hindutva communalism or vice versa. Why Muslim intellectuals and civil rights activists do not raise the demand that in Muslim countries all irrespective of their religious affiliations should get equal rights? Even they should raise the demand that minorities keeping in view their vulnerability due to lesser numbers should get more constitutional and legal protection.

Why almost all Muslim leadership whether religious, social or political is silent on the persecution of Hindus, Christians and non-Sunni Muslims in Pakistan? Why they do not organize demonstration in front of Pakistani Embassy in New Delhi and demand the end to these atrocities on the minority communities? The fight for secularism and equal rights cannot be fought with limited vision. Wrong is wrong and it has to be stopped. Muslims of India must come out and oppose the persecution of non-Muslim minorities in Pakistan, and then only one has a moral right to oppose the communalism of the Hindutva forces. If Muslims remain silent on the atrocities on minorities in Pakistan, they lose the moral right to stand up against the atrocities committed against minorities in India by Hindutva forces. I am of the view that Indian Muslims must also oppose the communalism of some Muslim organizations in India. Both Hindu and Muslim communalism are threat to the peaceful co-existence.

Pakistani Hindus are more vulnerable as they are identified as Indians because of their religion.
According to Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (Sindh Chapter) approximately 3000 Hindu families have migrated to India in the last three years. This is quite alarming trend and indicates how mal-treated these Hindu families might be that they decided to seek asylum in India. The incidents of kidnappings, forced conversations and marriages have compelled these families to seek refuge in India. The plight of the scheduled castes among the Pakistani Hindus is even worst. Because of the hierarchal social ladder within the Hindus, where there is ascending order of privileges and descending order of disabilities, these scheduled caste people get less security within the community itself and hence they become easy prey for the vested interests.

The atrocities and violations of human rights of scheduled caste girls were ignored or went unreported most of the times as their families were weak, poor and mostly employed as farm labourers. Their poverty combined with lower position in the social ladder make them more vulnerable in the power structure of the society. Even the upper caste and mercantile Hindus do not show social solidarity with this group and therefore atrocities with the girls of this less powerful social group were either went unreported or ignored but when it started with the so-called upper castes Hindus the resentment rises and the result was the fleeing of these families to India to evade violence and atrocities.

With escalation in violence against minorities and increasing radicalization of government machinery in Pakistan certain communities invented new ways to survive in the otherwise hostile environment. For instance, in the Christian community in Pakistan there has been a planned strategy of adopting Muslim names to evade persecution. Some estimates show that about 60% of them have adopted Muslims names. Common feeling that has gained deep roots there is that if you want anything you have to be a Muslim. Christians in Pakistan quote Pakistani cricketer Yousaf Youhana’s case to prove their point. People alleged that Youhana, a Christian by faith had to convert to Islam in 2005 to become the captain of Pakistan’s cricket team. I would have hated the Indian Team if Mohd Azharuddin would have been compelled to change his faith as a pre-condition for being made the captain of Indian Cricket team. I favour conversion from one faith to another but only when it is done out of the free will. Compulsion has no place in religious affairs.

The question is why the space for tolerance is being diminished in Pakistan with every passing year? The answer lies in the increasing radicalisation of state institutions initiated in 1980s by the then President of Pakistan Zia-ul-Haq. He declared Pakistan to be an Islamic republic. The obvious consequences were the cultural marginalization and religious persecution of the Hindus and people belonging to other non-Sunni Muslim beliefs. A state has no reason whatsoever to interfere in the religious affairs. Religion is a personal matter and must be left to the individuals themselves to handle it.

Facts and data speak voluminous about the persecution and discrimination of minorities in Pakistan. An estimate shows that in 1951 West Pakistan and East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) were having 22% (approx.) population of Hindus. And now in 2012 estimate indicates that percentage of Hindus has come down to 12% (approx.) both in Pakistan and Bangladesh.
Pakistan has now 2.5% and Bangladesh about 9.2% of the Hindu minority population. Why this sharp reduction in the percentages of population of Hindu minority in both of these countries?
Clearly this shows the bias, prejudice and discrimination against this religious group and because of all this they either fled to India or became the victims of the persecution machinery.
Hazara Shia Muslims in Pakistan are meeting the same fate. In the first week of September, 2012 itself seven Hazara Shias were selectively killed. Hazara Shias are easily identifiable because of their Mongloid features and become easy targets of the violence mongers and sectarian elements. Thousands of Hazara Shias have left the country and sought refuge in other countries.

The intolerance against non-Sunni Muslim minorities is on the increase in Pakistan. The Muslims adhering to the Sufism or Barelvi thought are continuous targets of the sectarian forces.

Mosques and Khankhas are bombed frequently killing many unaware of the dangers. Why this intolerance? Why society and government going in the direction of alienating and eliminating various minorities endangering the principle of peaceful co-existence and the right to live even if adhering to different strands of religious thoughts?

Has not Pakistan deviated from the vision of its founder? Pakistan’s Qaid-e-Azam Mohd Ali Jinnah who on 11th August, 1947 in the Pakistan’s Constituent Assembly said “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 or caste or creed; that has nothing to do with the business of the State….You will find that in course of time Hindus will cease to be Hindus and Muslims would cease to be Muslims, not in the religious sense, because that is the personal faith of each individual, but in the political sense as citizens of the State.” Is this a Pakistan which Jinnah wanted to make? Jinnah would have been most unhappy man if he would have seen all this happening in his dream project. He would have really said “What I have done by creating a separate State of Pakistan?” He lamented the partition when he saw with his naked eyes the huge migration and resultant violence on both sides of the newly created borders. While seeing the unabated violence and sufferings of the people Jinnah said to his companions Iftikhar-ud-din, Pakistan’s Rehabilitation Minister and Mazhar Ali Khan, editor of Pakistan Times in the Dakota flying over divided Punjab ‘What I have done?’ Kuldip Nayar discloses this fact in his recently released book ‘Beyond The Lines’.

The future of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Myanmar or any country for that matter lie in the practices of secularism and treating their all citizens as equal irrespective of their religion, race or any other affiliations. This world is a beautiful place where people professing different faiths, speaking many sweet languages and practicing many diverse cultures reside. This mosaic needs to be protected and preserved. If this social mosaic is not reflected in the public domain the government needs to intervene to provide representation to these various people so that they have voice in policy formulation and implementation of the policies and programmes. But, instead of providing equal opportunities, government or its majority community adopt discriminatory attitude against religious, linguistic and cultural minorities. This does not augur well for the overall health of the county and its society.

Peaceful and democratic resistance and voices of dissent against this discriminatory attitude must be raised. We know that there are some moderate and progressive voices in the shape of Asma Jahangir, Ansar Burney and others in Pakistan, who talk in defence of these minorities protecting their interests, but these voices of resistance are few; and the problem is of mammoth proportions. If in India people like Teesta Setalvad and Harsh Mander speak for the justice for the minorities, why not the Indian Muslim minority raise their voices on the injustices and atrocities committed on the non-Sunni Muslim minorities in Pakistan?

I know one fact for the sure: if you will not speak for others, others will have no interest to speak for you and your cause. We all are living in a compact world where incidents anywhere affect us at our places. And therefore, I am waiting for the day when Indian Muslim intellectuals and civil society groups will start speaking against the atrocities committed on others not professing their faith in neighbouring and other foreign countries. I am also waiting for the day when non-Muslims will speak against the communalism of the Muslims and Muslims will be doing the same against the communalism of the non-Muslims with equal ease. I am also waiting for the day when your communalism and my communalism will equally be considered dangerous.

I hope that Indian Muslims in general will learn to speak against the atrocities committed in India and abroad on the people not professing Islam as their faith. I sincerely believe that right-thinking Muslim intellectuals and civil rights groups will meet Pakistani High Commissioner and hand over a representation to him in the Pakistan embassy, New Delhi in protest against the discrimination and persecution of non-Muslim minorities in Pakistan and if need arises, will gherao the Pakistani Embassy with democratic means and ways if the atrocities are not stopped on the minorities in Pakistan.

I, as member of minority community in India, feel vulnerable and it is therefore my moral responsibility to speak for the weak and marginalized minority communities in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Iraq or anywhere else for that matter. I see and feel in their persecution my persecution and I must speak against this as I firmly believe ‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.’

[Abdul Hafiz Gandhi is Doctoral Research Scholar in Jawaharlal Nehru University and was President of Aligarh Muslim University Students’ Union. He can be reached at abdulhafizgandhi@gmail.com]
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Pakistan unwilling to protect Religious Minorities Rights under ICCPR
July 20, 2014
By Abbas Kassar
Minority rights, as applying to ethnic, religious or linguistic minorities and indigenous peoples, are an integral part of international human rights law, Like children rights, women’s rights and refugee rights, minority rights are a legal framework designed to ensure that a specific group which is in a vulnerable, disadvantaged or marginalized position in society, is able to achieve equality and is protected from persecution. The first post-war international treaty to protect minorities, designed to protect them from the greatest threat to their existence, was the U.N.Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.
Subsequent human rights standards that codify minority rights include the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
Pakistan signed the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) in 2008 and ratified it with reservations in 2010. But when European Union emissaries had warned Pakistan to be deprived of Generalised System of Preferances plus status of grant of trade benefits accorded by EU which in other words means ban on Pakistani exports, then in 2011, the Pakistan government, withdrew almost all of the reservations. Hence, since July 2011, Pakistan has ratified the ICCPR almost entirely committing itself to upholding the civil and political rights of its citizens including citizens belonging to minority commujity.
In Article 18 of the ICCPR is the guaranteed freedom of thought, conscience and religion. The right to religion includes the freedom to adopt and profess in public or private, freedom of worship and unfettered right to believe and manifest one’s religion accordingly. Article 19 goes further and says that everyone shall have the right to his or her opinions without interference. Article 20 of the ICCPR forbids any advocacy of religious hatred.
The freedom to profess one’s religion is integral to the ICCPR and therefore any law that abridges that freedom is in violation of and in contradiction to Pakistan’s international commitment
All of the aforesaid have been placed in the non-Muslim category under Article 260 of the Constitution of Pakistan.
The human rights watch noted that the condition of religious minorities deteriorated sharply in Pakistan in 2012, with the government unwilling or unable to provide protection against attacks by extremists.
Christians, Sikhs, Hindus and other minorities throughout Pakistan recount numerous horrific incidents of attacks and threats and express an overwhelming sense of fear. Minority Rights Group International, a watchdog organization, had ranked Pakistan as ‘the world’s top country for major increases in threats to minorities since 2007′. The group also lists Pakistan as seventh on the list of 10 most dangerous countries for minorities, after Somalia, Sudan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Myanmar and Congo.
In Sindh, Hindu women are being abducted and forcibly converted to Islam. Many Christians are suffering under the blasphemy law, a law which itself is in contradiction to the ICCPR. Churches, temples and other places of worship are routinely destroyed.
The situation in Sindh has markedly worsened for Hindus since 2oo7 with increase in target killingl, extortion,kidnapping,looting, religion based discrimination and troubles linked to their places of worship.Despite incidents like Shanti Nagar, Gojra, Sialkot, Badmi Bagh, and the attack on a Peshawar church being self-evident as to the increasing religious intolerance against minorities by the state and society, if you ask any Pakistani politician about the state of minorities or how protected they are in Pakistan, their prompt reply will be that minorities are happy and enjoying equal rights in the country.
If they are right then why the world seems worried about them and questions are reverberating in the House of Commons, EU and even in America about the oppression of minorities and misuse of blasphemy laws against them.
The U.S. Commission on Religious Freedom said in a recent report that conditions in Pakistan had “hit an all-time low” and governments had failed to adequately protect minorities and arrest perpetrators of crimes against them.
Scores of girls like 11 years Amriah Masih,12 years Muqadas Kainat,even 6 years Viginti Meghwar ,Kakoo Kolhen,14 years Manishsa Kumari and others were raped but their culprits have never been brought to book.
The guarantees of freedom of religious beliefs accorded to minorities under ICCPR are also violated by kidnapping minority girls and forcibly converting them to Islam.
According to a report published in Pakistan Today on 8 April 2014, around 1,000 Christian and Hindu women in Pakistan are forcibly converted to Islam and married to Muslim men every year including Rinkel Kumari in Ghotki in Feb 2012. She cried before chief justice of Pakistan Chowdhry Iftikhar in his court room to be handed to parents but the controvdertial judge turned his ears deaf and handed her to kidnapper follower of Pir of Bharchoondi, nortorious for kidnapping Hindu girls, keeping them his Harem for months and then marrying them to his Mureeds after conversion.
The report states the estimates of the incidence of forced marriage and conversion of 700 victim Christian girls and 300 Hindu girls per year, adding that the true scale of the problem is likely to be much greater, as a number of cases are never reported or do not progress through the law-enforcement and legal systems.
Though passed by NA but resolution is not binding on government but as a parliamentary practice.
In first 5 months of 2014, as many as 6 Hindu temples were ransacked:Dharamshala at Larkaha, was set on fire on March 13, Hanuman Mandir at Hyderabad on March 17,, Parbraham Ashram at Mith on March 30, Shri Guru Garanth Saheb at Madeji district Shikarpur and burning of Hindu holy book Bhagwat Geeta.
Though NA on May 14 this year condemned these attacks and asked for beefing up security of their holy places of worship and asked government to take measures on priority basis to protect holy places of religious minorities, yet as is evident from the protests that Hindu Mandirs are still not safe.The attacks on Mandirs have compelled Hindus to leave Pakistan and accoring to figure presented in NA by a minority law maker during the months of March and April 2014 as many as 10,000 Hindus have migrated to India.
Hearing petition of Dr. Ramesh Kuman Wankwani MNA about recent attacks on Hindu Mandirs on June 19,2014,chief justice of Pakistan Justice Tasaduq Hussain Jeelani lamented that it was unfortunate that constitutional provisions related to protection of minority rights have not beem implemented. CJP said in addition to Objectives Resolution,Article 20 of the constitution also gurarantees protection of minority rights. Apex court also ordered formation of National Council on Minorities.
Hindus of Pakistan
According to an estimation by an NGO there are more than 7,000,000 Hindus currently living in the different states of Pakistan, but majority of Hindus is settled in the province of Sindh.
The Hindus of Pakistan are a religious minority in an overwhelmingly Muslim society. They constitute about 5.5% of the population of 180 million (according to 1998 census). They live primarily in the urban areas of the province of Sindh in the lower Indus valley and over half are concentrated in the south-east district of Tharparkar which borders India. For the most part Hindus in Pakistan are well educated and active in commerce, trade and the civil service but majority of lower caste work as Haris.
According to an independent source, around 20 lac Hindus belonging to scheduled castes ( Dalits) are engaged to work as Haris ( peasants)on big farmlands of lower Sindh where they work as bonded peasants, kept in private jails under suveilance of armed men of landlords not allowed to move outside farmlands. They being most vulnerable their women and girls happen to be easy prey to landlords and their Kamdars lust.
According to the US commission on International religious freedom (USCIRF) annual report, “The government of Pakistan continues to engage in and tolerate systematic, ongoing, and violations of freedom of religion or belief.
To conclude, Pakistan is in complete and total violation of its international obligations of religious freedom, civil and political rights which can jeopardise the status of grant of trade benefits to Pakistan under the GSP Plus Scheme of the European Union.
[Abbas Kassar is Bureau Chief of Daily Messenger Karachi, Editor of Daily Pioneer Pakistan (online) and reporter in Pakistan for Pakistan Weekly, Burkeley,USA. He is also General Secretary of Hyderabad Union of Journalists (PFUJ Dasoor), Member of European Journalism Center, Member of Hyderabad Press Club governing body and Member of Writers International. He can be contacted at kassarabbas@gmail.com or kassarabbas@lycos.com]

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In first 5 months of 2014, as many as 6 Hindu temples were ransacked: Dharamshala at Larkaha, was set on fire on March 13, Hanuman Mandir at Hyderabad on March 17,, Parbraham Ashram at Mith on March 30, Shri Guru Garanth Saheb at Madeji district Shikarpur and burning of Hindu holy book Bhagwat Geeta.
Though NA on May 14 this year condemned these attacks and asked for beefing up security of their holy places of worship and asked government to take measures on priority basis to protect holy places of religious minorities, yet as is evident from the protests that Hindu Mandirs are still not safe. The attacks on Mandirs have compelled Hindus to leave Pakistan and accoring to figure presented in NA by a minority law maker during the months of March and April 2014 as many as 10,000 Hindus have migrated to India.
Hearing petition of Dr. Ramesh Kuman Wankwani MNA about recent attacks on Hindu Mandirs on June 19,2014 ,chief justice of Pakistan Justice Tasaduq Hussain Jeelani lamented that it was unfortunate that constitutional provisions related to protection of minority rights have not been implemented. CJP said in addition to Objectives Resolution, Article 20 of the constitution also guarantees protection of minority rights. Apex court also ordered formation of National Council on Minorities.
HINDU POPULATION:
According to estimation by an NGO there are more than 7000000 Hindus currently living in the different states of Pakistan, but majority of Hindus is settled in the province of Sindh.
The Hindus of Pakistan are a religious minority in an overwhelmingly Muslim society. They constitute about 5.5% of the population of 180 million (according to 1998 census). They live primarily in the urban areas of the province of Sindh in the lower Indus valley and over half are concentrated in the south-east district of Tharparkar which borders India. For the most part Hindus in Pakistan are well educated and active in commerce, trade and the civil service but majority of lower caste work as Haris.
According to an independent source, around 20 lac Hindus belonging to scheduled castes ( Dalits) are engaged to work as Haris ( peasants)on big farmlands of lower Sindh where they work as bonded peasants, kept in private jails under surveillance of armed men of landlords not allowed to move outside farmlands. They being most vulnerable their women and girls happen to be easy prey to landlords and their Kamdars lust.
According to the US commission on International religious freedom (USCIRF) annual report, “The government of Pakistan continues to engage in and tolerate systematic, ongoing, and violations of freedom of religion or belief.
To sum up Pakistan is in complete and total violation of its international obligations of religious freedom, civil and political rights which can jeopardize the status of grant of trade benefits to Pakistan under the GSP Plus Scheme of the European Union.
Introduction: writer is bureau chief of daily Messenger Karachi, editor daily Pioneer Pakistan (online)and reporter in Pakistan for Pakistan Weekly, Burkeley,USA. Also general secretary of Hyderabad Union of Journalists (PFUJ Dasoor), member European Journalism Center, member governing body Hyderabad press club and member Writers International.
He can be approached at kassarabbas@gmail.com;kassarabbas@lycos.com;
Kassarghulamabbas/wordpress.com
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article in IMO

Hyderabad: July 14, 2014. (By Abbas Kassar) Minority rights, as applying to ethnic, religious or linguistic minorities and indigenous peoples, are an integral part of international human rights law, Like children rights, women’s rights and refugee rights, minority rights are a legal framework designed to ensure that a specific group which is in a vulnerable, disadvantaged or marginalized position in society, is able to achieve equality and is protected from persecution. The first post-war international treaty to protect minorities, designed to protect them from the greatest threat to their existence, was the U.N. Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.

Subsequent human rights standards that codify minority rights include the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Pakistan signed the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) in 2008 and ratified it with reservations in 2010. But when European Union emissaries had warned Pakistan to be deprived of Generalized System of Preferences plus status of grant of trade benefits accorded by EU which in other words means ban on Pakistani exports, then in 2011, the Pakistan government, withdrew almost all of the reservations. Hence, since July 2011, Pakistan has ratified the ICCPR almost entirely committing itself to upholding the civil and political rights of its citizens including citizens belonging to minority community.

In Article 18 of the ICCPR is the guaranteed freedom of thought, conscience and religion. The right to religion includes the freedom to adopt and profess in public or private, freedom of worship and unfettered right to believe and manifest one’s religion accordingly. Article 19 goes further and says that everyone shall have the right to his or her opinions without interference. Article 20 of the ICCPR forbids any advocacy of religious hatred.

The freedom to profess one’s religion is integral to the ICCPR and therefore any law that abridges that freedom is in violation of and in contradiction to Pakistan’s international commitment

All of the aforesaid have been placed in the non-Muslim category under Article 260 of the Constitution of Pakistan.

The human rights watch noted that the condition of religious minorities deteriorated sharply in Pakistan in 2012, with the government unwilling or unable to provide protection against attacks by extremists.

Christians, Sikhs, Hindus and other minorities throughout Pakistan recount numerous horrific incidents of attacks and threats and express an overwhelming sense of fear. Minority Rights Group International, a watchdog organization, had ranked Pakistan as ‘the world’s top country for major increases in threats to minorities since 2007’. The group also lists Pakistan as seventh on the list of 10 most dangerous countries for minorities, after Somalia, Sudan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Myanmar and Congo.

In Sindh, Hindu women are being abducted and forcibly converted to Islam. Many Christians are suffering under the blasphemy law, a law which itself is in contradiction to the ICCPR. Churches, temples and other places of worship are routinely destroyed.

The situation in Sindh has markedly worsened for Hindus since 2oo7 with increase in target killing, extortion, kidnapping, looting, religion based discrimination and troubles linked to their places of worship. Despite incidents like Shanti Nagar, Gojra, Sialkot, Badmi Bagh, and the attack on a Peshawar church being self-evident as to the increasing religious intolerance against minorities by the state and society, if you ask any Pakistani politician about the state of minorities or how protected they are in Pakistan, their prompt reply will be that minorities are happy and enjoying equal rights in the country.

If they are right then why the world seems worried about them and questions are reverberating in the House of Commons, EU and even in America about the oppression of minorities and misuse of blasphemy laws against them.

The U.S. Commission on Religious Freedom said in a recent report that conditions in Pakistan had “hit an all-time low” and governments had failed to adequately protect minorities and arrest perpetrators of crimes against them.

Scores of girls like 11 years Amriah Masih,12 years Muqadas Kainat,even 6 years Viginti Meghwar ,Kakoo Kolhen,14 years Manishsa Kumari and others were raped but their culprits have never been brought to book.

The guarantees of freedom of religious beliefs accorded to minorities under ICCPR are also violated by kidnapping minority girls and forcibly converting them to Islam.

According to a report published in Pakistan Today on 8 April 2014, around 1,000 Christian and Hindu women in Pakistan are forcibly converted to Islam and married to Muslim men every year including Rinkel Kumari in Ghotki in Feb 2012. She cried before chief justice of Pakistan Chowdhry Iftikhar in his court room to be handed to parents but the controversial judge turned his ears deaf and handed her to kidnapper follower of Pir of Bharchoondi, nortorious for kidnapping Hindu girls, keeping them his Harem for months and then marrying them to his Mureeds after conversion.

The report states the estimates of the incidence of forced marriage and conversion of 700 victim Christian girls and 300 Hindu girls per year, adding that the true scale of the problem is likely to be much greater, as a number of cases are never reported or do not progress through the law-enforcement and legal systems.

Though passed by NA but resolution is not binding on government but as a parliamentary practice.

In first 5 months of 2014, as many as 6 Hindu temples were ransacked: Dharamshala at Larkaha, was set on fire on March 13, Hanuman Mandir at Hyderabad on March 17,, Parbraham Ashram at Mith on March 30, Shri Guru Garanth Saheb at Madeji district Shikarpur and burning of Hindu holy book Bhagwat Geeta.

Though NA on May 14 this year condemned these attacks and asked for beefing up security of their holy places of worship and asked government to take measures on priority basis to protect holy places of religious minorities, yet as is evident from the protests that Hindu Mandirs are still not safe. The attacks on Mandirs have compelled Hindus to leave Pakistan and accoring to figure presented in NA by a minority law maker during the months of March and April 2014 as many as 10,000 Hindus have migrated to India.

Hearing petition of Dr. Ramesh Kuman Wankwani MNA about recent attacks on Hindu Mandirs on June 19,2014 ,chief justice of Pakistan Justice Tasaduq Hussain Jeelani lamented that it was unfortunate that constitutional provisions related to protection of minority rights have not been implemented. CJP said in addition to Objectives Resolution, Article 20 of the constitution also guarantees protection of minority rights. Apex court also ordered formation of National Council on Minorities.

HINDU POPULATION:

According to estimation by an NGO there are more than 7000000 Hindus currently living in the different states of Pakistan, but majority of Hindus is settled in the province of Sindh.

The Hindus of Pakistan are a religious minority in an overwhelmingly Muslim society. They constitute about 5.5% of the population of 180 million (according to 1998 census). They live primarily in the urban areas of the province of Sindh in the lower Indus valley and over half are concentrated in the south-east district of Tharparkar which borders India. For the most part Hindus in Pakistan are well educated and active in commerce, trade and the civil service but majority of lower caste work as Haris.

According to an independent source, around 20 lac Hindus belonging to scheduled castes ( Dalits) are engaged to work as Haris ( peasants)on big farmlands of lower Sindh where they work as bonded peasants, kept in private jails under surveillance of armed men of landlords not allowed to move outside farmlands. They being most vulnerable their women and girls happen to be easy prey to landlords and their Kamdars lust.

According to the US commission on International religious freedom (USCIRF) annual report, “The government of Pakistan continues to engage in and tolerate systematic, ongoing, and violations of freedom of religion or belief.

To sum up Pakistan is in complete and total violation of its international obligations of religious freedom, civil and political rights which can jeopardize the status of grant of trade benefits to Pakistan under the GSP Plus Scheme of the European Union.

Introduction: writer is bureau chief of daily Messenger Karachi, editor daily Pioneer Pakistan (online)and reporter in Pakistan for Pakistan Weekly, Burkeley,USA. Also general secretary of Hyderabad Union of Journalists (PFUJ Dasoor), member European Journalism Center, member governing body Hyderabad press club and member Writers International.

He can be approached at kassarabbas@gmail.com;kassarabbas@lycos.com;

Kassarghulamabbas/wordpress.com

Pakistani hands in rise of jehad

Pakistan’s Hand in the Rise of International Jihad
06/02/2016 iaoj Leave a comment
By CARLOTTA GALL
TUNIS — PRESIDENT ASHRAF GHANI of Afghanistan has warned in several recent interviews that unless peace talks with Pakistan and theTaliban produce results in the next few months, his country may not survive 2016. Afghanistan is barely standing, he says, after the Taliban onslaught last year, which led to the highest casualties among civilians and security forces since 2001.
“How much worse will it get?” Mr. Ghani asked in a recent television interview. “It depends on how much regional cooperation we can secure, and how much international mediation and pressure can be exerted to create rules of the game between states.”
What he means is it depends on how much international pressure can be brought to bear on Pakistan to cease its aggression.
Read more » The New York Times
See more » http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/07/opinion/sunday/pakistans-hand-in-the-rise-of-international-jihad.html?mwrsm=Facebook&_r=0

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Pakistan agents funding taliban

Pakistani agents ‘funding and training Afghan Taliban’ – BBC
22/01/2016 iaoj Leave a comment
Pakistani intelligence gives funding, training and sanctuary to the Afghan Taliban on a scale much larger than previously thought, a report says.
Taliban field commanders interviewed for the report suggested that ISI intelligence agents even attend Taliban supreme council meetings.
Support for the Afghan Taliban was “official ISI policy”, the London School of Economics (LSE) authors suggest.
Read more » BBC
See more » http://www.bbc.com/news/10302946?SThisFB

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Death Toll in Central African Republic Church Attack Rises to 26 — BCNN1 WP

The number of people confirmed dead in a gun and grenade attack on a church in Bangui, Central African Republic, has risen to 26.

via Death Toll in Central African Republic Church Attack Rises to 26 — BCNN1 WP

what would earth be in 500 years ahead

What will Earth look like in 500 years?
BY ROBERT LAMB

What will the 26th century look like?
What will the 26th century look like?
COLIN ANDERSON /PHOTOGRAPHER’S CHOICE/GETTY IMAGES
If you could travel back in time five centuries, you’d encounter a thriving Aztec empire in Central Mexico, a freshly painted “Mona Lisa” in Renaissance Europe and cooler temperatures across the Northern Hemisphere. This was a world in the midst of the Little Ice Age (A.D. 1300 to 1850) and a period of vast European exploration now known as the Age of Discovery.

But what if we could look 500 years into the future and glimpse the Earth of the 26th century? Would the world seem as different to us as the 21st century would have seemed to residents of the 16th century? For starters, what will the weather be like?

KEEP READING BELOW

Depending on whom you ask, the 26th century will either be a little chilly or infernally hot. Some solar output models suggest that by the 2500s, Earth’s climate will have cooled back down to near Little Ice Age conditions [source: Perry]. Other studies predict that ongoing climate change and fossil fuel use will render much of the planet too hot for human life by 2300 [source: AFP].

Some experts date the beginning of human climate change back to the Industrial Revolution in the 1800s, others to slash-and-burn agricultural practices in prehistoric times. Either way, tool-wielding humans alter their environment — and our 26th century tools might be quite impressive indeed.

Theoretical physicist and futurist Michio Kaku predicts that in a mere 100 years, humanity will make the leap from a type zero civilization to a type I civilization on the Kardashev Scale. In other words, we’ll become a species that can harness the entire sum of a planet’s energy. Wielding such power, 26th-century humans will be masters of clean energy technologies such as fusion and solar power. Furthermore, they’ll be able to manipulate planetary energy in order to control global climate. Physicist Freeman Dyson, on the other hand, estimates the leap to a type I civilization would occur within roughly 200 years.

Technology has improved exponentially since the 1500s, and this pace will likely continue in the centuries to come. Physicist Stephen Hawking proposes that by the year 2600, this growth would see 10 new theoretical physics papers published every 10 seconds. If Moore’s Law holds true and both computer speed and complexity double every 18 months, then some of these studies may be the work of highly intelligent machines.

What other technologies will shape the world of the 26th century? Futurist and author Adrian Berry believes the average human life span will reach 140 years and that the digital storage of human personalities will enable a kind of computerized immortality. Humans will farm the oceans, travel in starships and reside in both lunar and Martian colonies while robots explore the outer cosmos.

Where will we go from there? Explore the links on the next page for even more predictions about Earth’s long-term future.