Hindus in Pakistan ‘victims of religious apartheid’

Islamabad, June 30 (IANS) Hindus in Pakistan are not “equal citizens of the state but victims of a religious apartheid”, a new non-political organisation, the All Hindu Rights Forum, has said.

The forum has been set up in the port city of Karachi in a bid to fight for due constitutional rights of the largest religious minority in the country, the Daily Times reported.

Kishanchand Parwani, former member of the National Assembly, was elected chairman, Mohan Manjiani became president and Manohar Lal Jesrani became general secretary of the new organisation.

Manjiani said the Hindu community feels insecure in Pakistan due to continued acts of injustice and atrocities, especially against women.

“All Hindus are hounded and humiliated to force them to leave Pakistan,” he was quoted as saying.

Manjiani said Hindus in Pakistan are not “equal citizens of the state but victims of a religious apartheid”.

“They live in a state of perpetual dread with their daughters, property and religious places being constantly targeted,” he said.

Thousands of temples have been vandalised, wealth of minorities looted, women and children abducted, but none has been tried before a court of law to give them justice, he said.

Referring to incidents of “forced marriages” of Hindu girls in Sindh, he said the courts generally do not consider the fact that most of the girls are minors.

“This practice is much more prevalent as the victims’ families often fail to file a police report fearing violent retaliation,” Manjiani said.

He demanded a special session of parliament to verify the persecution of Hindus and other minorities, establishment of a monitoring cell to prevent communal incidents, revision of syllabus and removal of hate passages against Hindus, and allowing dual vote for Hindus.

According to the Pakistan Hindu Council, there are more than seven million Hindus — about 5.5 percent of Pakistan’s population of 170 million — living in the various states of Pakistan, most of them in Sindh.

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