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VIOLENCE AGAINST MINORITES

August 10, 2014

On Sunday evening, July 27,2 days before the Muslim religious day of Eid a crowd of around 150 fanatics attacked a small, peaceful community of 17 Ahmadi families living in Arafat Colony, on the outskirts of Gujranwala district, Punjab, in Pakistan. As a result , eight houses were burned down. Three Ahmadis in one of the houses succumbed to the flames. All the three were female, and two were young children.
Not only have the federal and provincial governments failed to provide security for the community, no move has been made to arrest the assailants.
Those killed in the attack include Bashiran, a 55-year-old woman, Kainat, an eight-month-old baby girl, and Hira, a seven-year-old girl. Another Ahmadi woman, seven months pregnant, suffered a miscarriage and lost her baby. Eight others have been badly burnt and are in hospital. A storage building and several vehicles have also been attacked over the alleged blasphemy.
The international community is well aware of the continuous murders of Ahmadis, on account of their beliefs. A few weeks ago, a young Ahmadi was murdered in Nawabshah, in broad daylight, for reason other than being an Ahmadi. And, few months ago, an eminent cardiologist from the USA, who was in Pakistan to provide voluntary service, was also killed.
Human Rights Commission of Pakistan has issued statement that it is shocked and disgusted at the killing of four citizens belonging to the Ahmadi faith after a blasphemy allegation. Four other Ahmadis were reported to be hospitalised in a critical condition. As things stand in the country now, particularly in Punjab, a blasphemy charge, however unfounded, makes such cold-blooded killings somehow less repulsive. The people who were killed were not even indirectly accused of the blasphemy charge. Their only fault was that they were Ahmadi. Torching women and children in their house simply because of their faith represents brutalisation and barbarism stooping to new lows. It was aimed at further victimizing an already persecuted community.”
Christians, Sikhs, Hindus,Ahmadis 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.
Attacks on Christians at Shanti Nagar, Gojra, Sialkot, Badmi Bagh, and the attack on a Peshawar church being self-evident as the increasing religious intolerance against minorities by the state and society.
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.
The attacks on tempels and churches have compelled Hindus and Christians to leave Pakistan and according to figure presented in Parliament by a minority law maker during the months of March and April 2014 as many as 10,000 Hindus have migrated to India and according to US based Pakistan Christian Congress hundreds of Christians have fled Pakistan.

Scores of Christian girls like 11 years Amriah Masih and12 years Muqadas Kainat,even 6 years Hindu girl Viginti Meghwar ,Kakoo Kolhen,14 years Manishsa Kumari and others were gang 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..
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.
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.

It is fact that religious minorities of Pakistan have contributed in creation of Pakistan and anthem of Pakistan is written by Hindu Poet. Hate speeches in Text Books and less marks in special subjects are major issues facing minorities• In a speech father of nation Quid Azam Muhammad Ali said, you are free to go to your mosques or to any other place 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… We are starting with this fundamental principle that we are all citizens and equal citizens of one State.
South Asia Participation Pakistan an NGO is working for restoration of r rights of religious minorities of Pakistan and has been demanding formation of minorities commission at national as well as provincial level and stressing government of Pakistan to follow the international covenant on religious and civil rights of people which it had ractified.

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