Now, a digital platform for persecuted religious minorities in Pakistan

    04-Apr-2021   
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New Delhi: The website 'Whiteintheflag.com' is making news in Pakistan these days. The site is dedicated to highlight the plight of the country’s religious minorities including Hindus.
 
"The ‘White in the flag’ is a project, a multi-year work in progress that we anticipate to keep growing. In the modern, post-truth world we inhabit, it was felt that there was a need to create a repository that would keep track of all the integral communities that make up the white of the flag".
 
"Telling stories of marginalized communities in Pakistan with the help of films and podcasts; can pull audiences into an immersive experience, taking the time to build empathy or understanding more deeply. They tell stories about the lives of real people in ways that help audiences make or see connections – about ideas or issues – that may otherwise seem abstract," - the website says.
 
With ‘White in The Flag,’ the website wants to ensure that citizens experiencing religious discrimination in Pakistan are able to have their voices heard on issues that are important to them,
 
It further says - "Non-Muslims in Pakistan face tremendous pressure, both implicit and explicit, to convert to Sunni Islam, the majority sect of Islam in the country and also the one understood as the most “pure”. Sometimes this pressure manifests as willful conversion to escape second-grade citizenship".
 
This site has been floated by Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, a Pakistani-Canadian journalist, filmmaker and activist.
She is the recipient of two Academy Awards, six Emmy Awards and a Knight International Journalism Award. In 2012, the Government of Pakistan had honoured her with the Hilal-i-Imtiaz, the second-highest civilian honour of the country.
 
The filmmaker would be now seeking 'collaboration opportunities' with independent bodies, education institutes and organizations that are working for minority groups.
 
The website points out those who face discrimination in Pakistan include Hindus, Christians and also Shias and Ahmadis, the smallest prominent minority group at just 0.22 per cent of the total population.
 
"While almost 90 percent of the Hindu population is concentrated in rural Sindh, there are small pockets in Peshawar and Islamabad. Regardless of their province of residence, Hindus are delegated to being 2nd-grade citizens in Pakistan by virtue of their being non-Muslims. The fact that most of the remaining Hindus belong to the lower castes makes them especially more vulnerable to all types of violence and systemic discrimination," the website says.
 
About Christians in Pakistan, it says: "Seventy-six Christians were killed in Pakistan during 2017 which according to Open Doors, a US-based NGO for the protection of persecuted Christians around the world, was the highest number of Christians killed in the world during a year. It also topped the list of the highest number of church attacks in a country, accounting for 600 of the total 1329 churches that were attacked in the same year."