Pakistan has a long history of persecution of minorities, especially Hindus. Debate on the Citizenship Amendment Act has already brought the inhuman dimensions of this Islamic State perpetrated on the minorities there to the forefront. Whether it is forceful conversion, abduction Hindu girls and forcing them into marriage or killing people for just being a minority etc. are the day to day news in the theocratic State. The governments and NGOs across the world are struggling to tackle the Corona pandemic. All agencies are working 24*7 to help the affected and needy in case of a lockdown. But, the Islamic Republic of Pakistan continues to play with the lives of its minorities.
A group of fundamentalists in the form of Tablighi-Jamaat has already earned the tag of global super-spreaders. Instead of addressing the pressing concerns emerged out of this Jamaati behaviour, the country that vouches only in the name of 'Army' and 'Allah' is completely negating the fundamental challenges for humanity. While the neighbouring Bharat is gaining recognition for helping the other countries with Medical supplies, Pakistan is still trying to earn brownie points by raising 'K' word on the international forum, crying of non-existent Islamophobia and exporting terror in the neighbourhood.
The saddening act of discrimination against minorities is at worst in Pakistan during the global epidemic as families belonging to the minority communities have been denied with the fundamental security for survival that is food security. With no one to take care of them, including NGOs during the health emergency, Hindus, Christians and other minorities are left with no option but to fend for themselves.
There are many cases where authorities are denying Hindus and Christian minorities food supplies, claiming that it is meant only for the Muslims. This clear violation of human rights is rampant in areas like Sindh.
If the inhuman behaviour of Government of Pakistan was not sufficient, reputed NGOs of the failed State, who many times amass international assistance in the name of human rights, are also refusing any support to Hindu minorities while lending help to all others. The Karachi based Saylani Welfare Trust is a clear case of practising inhuman discrimination against minorities. The Trust has been at the forefront in distributing food to the daily wage workers affected by the Coronavirus outbreak and subsequent restrictions imposed in the city. However, Hindu minority workers are not part of such scheme of things; in fact, they are systematically excluded.
Amidst Corona pandemic, a 27-year-old Tarachand committed suicide leaving behind his son and wife after
the Pakistani Government denied ration to those who belonged to Hindu community. The family was suffering from starvation
In ts 2019 Annual Report, USCIRF had noted that Hindus and Christians in Pakistan “face continued threats to their security and are subjected to various forms of harassment and social exclusion”
Reports suggest that even Christian workers were denied the food packets by the same NGO, which was entrusted with the task. Sources stated that while several NGOs have been assigned with the job of distributing food to the stranded labourers who earn their livelihood on day to day basis, Saylani Welfare trust was one of the most prominent NGOs which was handed over the task. On March 21, Saylani Welfare Trust chairman Maulana Bashir Farooqi had announced that they would provide ration to 1.2 million poor people in Pakistan. But the inhuman act of the NGO has endangered the life Hindu and Christian minority workers.
After the incident, the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) has stated that it was "troubled by reports of food aid being denied to the minority Hindus and Christians in Pakistan" following the Coronavirus outbreak.
"These actions are simply reprehensible. As COVID-19 continues to spread, vulnerable communities within Pakistan are fighting hunger and keeping their families safe and healthy. Food aid must not be denied because of one's faith," said USCIRF Commissioner Anurima Bhargava.
In its 2019 Annual Report, USCIRF had noted that Hindus and Christians in Pakistan "face continued threats to their security and are subjected to various forms of harassment and social exclusion." Pakistan has been criticised internationally for cracking down on the minorities in the country.
Earlier the Pakistani Government denied ration to those who belonged to Hindu community at Rehri Ghoth in Karachi. They were told to go back as the food under the distribution system is meant only for the Muslims.
After a few days, it was reported that a 27-year-old Tarachand committed suicide leaving behind his son and wife. The family was suffering from starvation.
In another such incident, while distributing ration to needy people in Karachi's Korangi area, inhabitant Christians were allegedly forced to recite "Kalma Tayyaba" as a pre-condition to get ration from the local administration. (Kalma Tayyaba is considered as the basic tenet of Islam, which is nothing but recitation of the mandatory for Muslims. Anyone embracing or being converted to Islam also has to recite the Kalma Tayyaba). As they refused, the Christians were denied the required essentials.
"They did not give us ration and said that we would get grocery only after we chant 'La Ilaha Il-Allah Muhammadur Rasul Allah'. As we did not follow the dictate, we were denied the ration and asked to leave," said a Christian woman.
Another Hindu Girl Abducted and Converted
Recently, in Pakistan's Sindh province, another Hindu minor girl has been kidnapped and converted to Islam. A 14-year-old minor girl was abducted by Mohammad Achar Darejo, a 40-year-old in Chundiko area of Sindh. After which the Muslim clerics converted the minor and forced her to marry the same 40-year-old man. The girl has been identified as Suthi Oad, a resident of Chundika.
After this incident, a Pakistan-based journalist Nayla Inayat tweeted that someday Corona virus will end, but this virus like atrocities on minorities, abduction of minor girls and converting them to Islam will always stay in Pakistan".
According to reports, more than 41 minor girls were abducted in Pakistan and converted to Islam in 2019. Pakistan's PM Imran Khan consistently claims internationally that the condition of minorities in Pakistan is good. But the fact is quite the opposite.
A 14-year-old minor girl was abducted by Mohammad Achar Darejo,
a 40-year-old in Chundiko area of Sindh
From Human Rights to Ceasefire: Violation is the norm
Amid coronavirus lockdown, LoC remains to be a war zone. Pakistan is well known for its ceasefire violations, but one cannot expect it at least during the pandemic. The lockdown due to the COVID-19 outbreak has not deterred terrorists from Pakistan from making infiltration attempts. The ceasefire violations on the LoC continue that has also hit Pakistan severely.
Commenting on reports of Pakistani terrorists crossing borders to infiltrate into India, Army Chief General MM Naravane said, "while India is busy exporting medicines to help other nations tide over the COVID-19 outbreak, Pakistan is 'exporting terror'."
"It is unfortunate that while the world has got together to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, our neighbour has resorted to firing heavy calibre artillery and killing of innocent people, including an eight-year-old boy to garner international attention", he added.
According to government figures, in January, the number of ceasefire violations was at 367. In February, it was 366. And, as the pandemic hit India and Pakistan in March, the numbers swelled to 411.
The number is higher than those for corresponding periods in the last two years: 919 in 2019, and 802 in 2018. In March last year, the number of ceasefire violations was 267, while it was 201in 2018.
Pakistan observer and defence expert Jaibans Singh spoke to Organiser on the issue. He explained, "the situation of Corona Virus combined with the precarious economic condition and political instability has put Pakistan into an existential crisis. The national figures of the virus situation speak of a nationwide tally of 11940 cases. Of these, 253 (as on April 25) are reportedly dead. These numbers are grossly under-reported due to the iron grip that the Pakistan Army has on the media".
"The Government of Pakistan continues to be wary of the Mullahs and is not taking firm steps to stop Mosque congregations even though countries like Saudi Arabia, Iran, Turkey that hold many Muslim. Active involvement by the Pakistan Army has led to the virus creeping into its ranks. More and more soldiers are reporting sick", he further commented.
Jaibans Singh also said that the terrible social, economic and health condition in Pakistan is, quite amazingly, not deterring the country from continuing with its evil policy of Proxy War in Kashmir.
The beginning of April witnessed a massive infiltration bid in the Kupwara sector which was successfully thwarted by India by killing all five well trained Pakistani terrorists. Support to terrorists operating within Kashmir is unabated even as the Indian Army remains firmly on control with successful operations leading to many kills.
It seems that the Corona crisis is not going to be a deterrent for the Pakistani leadership so far as targeting India and religious minorities in Pak is concerned.
The irony is, Imran Khan-led Pakistan Government is seeking India's help in combating the pandemic and has formally asked Indian Government for the drug Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ), believed to help tackle the COVID-19. It is simultaneously violating the ceasefire on LOC. Pakistan must remember that if any country that can help in case of community spread of COVID19 to the already failing State, It is India. Under such circumstances, this mindless belligerence of discrimination or infiltration is very unfortunate.