Govt must protect minorities’ places of worship: Minister

Published: April 1, 2012

Minister In-charge of National Harmony directs concerned authorities to take up matter and resolve it at the earliest. PHOTO: NNI/FILE

ISLAMABAD: Minister In-charge of National Harmony Dr Paul Bhatti said on Sunday that he would raise objections in the parliament if the government fails to safeguard the places of worship of minorities, particularly the Hindu community.

“Minorities in Pakistan are in deep trouble,” Bhatti told the Express Tribune.

“The government should be committed to safeguard the places of worship of all minorities in the country and all possible steps should be taken for the care and maintenance of these places,” said Bhatti.

Taking notice of the Hindu community’s protest in front of the National Press Club in Islamabad for the repossession of their temple, the minister said that no one should be allowed to occupy their places of worship.

He also directed the concerned authorities to take up the matter and resolve it at the earliest.

More than 30 Hindus from Tehsil Zafarwal in Norowal district took part in the protest on Friday.

Bhatti said: “We should respect the places of worship of others and demonstrate tolerance to establish peace in the country in order to promote interfaith harmony. All religions are integral parts of the society.”

“Interfaith harmony can only be achieved through interfaith relationship,” added Bhatti. “Interfaith dialogue and harmony among the people of different faiths can create an environment of peace and tolerance in the society.”

“We should have interactions to understand each other’s point of views.”

He further said that peace was necessary for the development of the country and the socioeconomic uplift of the minorities so that the people of different faiths can sit together and work for the welfare of the nation.

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Reader Comments (21)

  • Usman
    Apr 1, 2012 - 5:33PM

    What about Ahmadis Mr. Paul? even though their faith claims to be same as of any other muslim, and they recite the same Quran, the same Kalma and yet again, they are treated with immense hatred!

    you can talk about minorities but please raise your voice for Ahmadies as well. Bring some change in the country, live and let live!

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  • Cautious
    Apr 1, 2012 - 5:52PM

    Probably never dawns on Pakistanis that once they set foot outside of Pakistan they are the minorities. No doubt they would be unhappy if other countries treated them the same way they treat minorities in their country. Pakistan needs to learn that tolerance of others is both morally and legally correct.

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  • zalim singh
    Apr 1, 2012 - 6:53PM

    placxes of worship? Please worry about your women first, sir.

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  • Umer
    Apr 1, 2012 - 7:12PM

    Taking notice of the Hindu community’s
    protest in front of the National Press
    Club in Islamabad for the repossession
    of their temple

    Wow, if it were an old disused mosque in India imagine the uproar in Pakistan.
    It’s good if I do it its bad if you do it.

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  • Apr 1, 2012 - 7:47PM

    @Usman:
    I don’t know whether you are one of them or not but better not to elucidate why people hate them. Well I don’t wanna say that minorities should be treated with injustice, apart from that, Ahmedies are not Muslims that is what I want to say. They appertain to Non-Muslim minorities. That is all.

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  • dv sikka
    Apr 1, 2012 - 8:35PM

    Please do not call them Minorities. They are FACELESS DESTITUTES created by so called AZADI. They are the real face of sadism of the leaders who negotiated AZADI. The leaders did not care for the consequences of what they were doing and, the British were happy that they had succeeded in their parting present of DIVIDE and RUIN.

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  • true_blue_pakistani
    Apr 1, 2012 - 8:45PM

    The kidnapping & forced conversion episode of Rinkle Kumari brought disrepute to the nation while country still grappled with OBL episode. As per true Islam we should protect & respect the minority.

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  • Aftab Kenneth Wilson
    Apr 1, 2012 - 9:14PM

    Sir, be careful from Jehadi outfits. Go slow on this issue but non-stop.

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  • kaalchakra
    Apr 1, 2012 - 9:58PM

    How many countries even bother to appoint a national (inter-faith) harmony minister? And that too, give such an important post to a minority member?

    It seems no matter what Pakistan does, some people will never be satisfied. There was even a Pakistani Hindu posting here on this site. If there was really any issue, would a Pakistani Hindu be in a position to do that?

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  • Nasir
    Apr 1, 2012 - 10:02PM

    @Naeem Javid Muhammad Hassani and the likes of his

    What you are saying is that since they are Non-Muslims declared by the Parliament which according to President Zia, “a parliament of alcoholics, atheists, and non-religious, non-virtuous…” when he dismissed the Parliament in 1977.

    So this gives a license to persecute and to take them out of “human” race? They should not be included in Minorities now? First they were forced to be out of the fold of Islam according to Pakistan’s Parliament who was non-religious and secular parliament and now you are reprimanding Usman that since they are Non-Muslims declared so we have license to kill and persecute them?

    I guess you people in Pakistan are awaiting more wrath of Allah then what He has so far bestowed on you.Recommend

  • Umer
    Apr 1, 2012 - 10:13PM

    @kaalchakra:

    How many countries even bother to
    appoint a national (inter-faith)
    harmony minister? And that too, give
    such an important post to a minority
    member?

    There is already interfaith harmony in other countries for a large part and not much need to do anything special about it. All citizens are declared equal under the law.

    In Islamic Republic on the other hand the law and constitution first destroys the interfaith harmony by implementing discriminating laws and then only pretends to try to fix it by establishment a powerless position of a so called interfaith harmony minister. If the minister still does not get it then there is the murder of Shehbaz Bhati to remind the minister of his limits in the Islamic Republic.

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  • observer
    Apr 1, 2012 - 10:51PM

    @Kaalchakra

    How many countries even bother to appoint a national (inter-faith) harmony minister?

    Well, countries that allow everyone, IRRESPECTIVE of faith, to become President, PM etc, do not need such ministers. Now, quickly tell me how many ministers, in addition to hapless Mr Bhatti, are there in the Pakistani cabinet?

    There was even a Pakistani Hindu posting here on this site. If there was really any issue, would a Pakistani Hindu be in a position to do that?

    Pakistani Hindu, if he actually is one, needs the anonymity of the internet to express his views. Those who get identified meet the faith of Shahbaz Bhatti and Salman Taseer for speaking out against persecution of minorities.

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  • Parvez
    Apr 2, 2012 - 12:26AM

    When religious intolerance is fostered and used as a weapon by political parties, organs of the state and private bodies to further their agendas a minister for something as lame as National Harmony can at best only make the right noises.

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  • Nasir Jan
    Apr 2, 2012 - 1:32AM

    @Naeem Javid Muhammad Hassani: who are you to decide who is a muslim or not – Fear allah and Let allah decide who is a muslim or not

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  • Pollack
    Apr 2, 2012 - 4:23AM

    @kaalchakra:
    “There was even a Pakistani Hindu posting here on this site.”

    Wonderful logic. Is ET owned by the Pakistan government that it would institutionally discriminate against Hindu posters? You can consider the fact that ET is not discriminating against Hindus as a sign that Pakistan doesn’t discriminate??? Oh…how I wish ET is a microcosm of Pakistan. Unfortunately it is not.

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  • Pollack
    Apr 2, 2012 - 4:24AM

    @Parvez: a very wise observation.

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  • Usman
    Apr 2, 2012 - 4:58AM

    @Naeem Javid Muhammad Hassani

    Like Nasir said – who in the world are you to decide who is a muslim or not! you are just doing something which not even a single “” MUSLIM “” would do! wonder what makes you that!

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  • Safdar
    Apr 2, 2012 - 5:28AM

    A society that can’t provide basic security to its members is not worth calling a society, and when a country stops protecting one of its own, it should not be called a country either. I am ashamed of the fact that a country which was founded on the principle of providing equal rights to a minority in fear of oppression is inflicting the same misery on the very few who were born within the boundaries of a country we call land of noble.

    Shame on us, shame on all Pakistanis who sit there and see innocent lives getting lost in the name of the religion that actually literally means peace.

    Wake up before its too late and God looses all the hope of any good coming from Pakistanis.

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  • A Hindu!
    May 15, 2012 - 4:03PM

    @truebluepakistani:
    Feels good to know still there are people in Pakistan who think of caring the hindus who are on extinct…..and that really changes my perception of Islam and makes me realize that yes, there are people who undertsand Islam perfectly.

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  • Dr Boodhun
    May 15, 2012 - 5:37PM

    The real issue is that Pakistani Muslims hate all those who differ with their version of religion. Period. That’s why Christians have been burnt alive, Hindu temples have been desecrated, Shias are gunned down regularly and Ahmadi Muslims are often murdered with the tacit approval of the Government. No law will change these people.

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  • MNA KHAN
    May 15, 2012 - 6:44PM

    The founder of Pakistan want to give equal rights to all citizens of Pakistan. So in the mind of Muhammad Ali Jinnah there was no concept of minority or majority. He was a liberal Muslim leader believing in the Secular Islam not in the Theocratic Islam ( Mullah-ism ) which is now established in Pakistan. Poor Mr.Paul Bhatti he can only give a statement and can do nothing.
    Pakistan can never make progress without amending the laws of persecution and without giving the equal rights to all Pakistanis.Due to this politicizing of religion Pakistan is thrown into fundamentalism and terrorism. Pakistan should come back on the track of Quaid-E-Azam and leave the track of Theocracy ( Mullah-ism ) as early as possible if it want to survive.

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