'Jinnah's Pakistan' has no room for Hindus
Hindu couples cannot officially register their marriage in Pakistan. Is this justice?
Hindus and Muslims may have similar wedding celebrations, but there is no registration system for Hindu marriages in Pakistan.
The Indian parliament passed the Hindu Marriage Act in 1955 which made it mandatory for Hindu marriages to be registered in India. In Pakistan, the Hindu community has been demanding the same rights for decades, but to no avail.
Members of the Hindu community gave a two-month deadline to the government and threatened to hold a sit-in in front of the Parliament House in June if these demands were not met. They urged the media and concerned citizens to participate in a petition campaign as a token of support for the cause of poor Hindu women. But all to no avail.
Despite the Supreme Court’s suo motu ruling of November 23, 2010, no measure has been taken to introduce legal provisions for Hindu marriage rights by the Parliament. The assurances made by the Prime Minister have also not produced any results.
The assassination of minority affairs minister Shahbaz Bhatti further worsened the situation, especially for Hindus. Anita Vadhani, an O-Level student from Rahim Yar Khan says:
“Shahbaz was our last hope but his tragic end forced us to think seriously. We should either leave or migrate to another country.”
Shami Mai, a poor Hindu woman said:
“In case of separation or domestic violence, a Hindu woman cannot register a complaint in the government departments because she has no legal document to establish that the perpetrator was her husband.”
The shocking news about a Hindu MPA from Sindh migrating to India is another sign that the situation is worsening. PPP MNA Palwasha Behram blasted her own government in the National Assembly for the deafening silence of her fellow parliamentarians over the unfortunate fleeing of minorities from Pakistan.
But the injustice persists.
Sadly, many followers of the Hindu faith have left the country as a result of the injustices perpetrated towards them by those in power.
An Islamabad based journalist hailing from Sindh, Kapil Dev, says:
“Our community members are migrating to other countries because they think that no one accepts them in Pakistani society.”
The persecution of Hindus has become a regular feature in Pakistan, especially in Sindh. The Sikh community in Khyber Pukhtoonkhwa (KP) is also suffering from insecurity despite the power the progressive Awami National Party in that region.
Minorities’ rights are being denied and our parliamentarians and citizens are not concerned about their demands even though they have the power to change things.
Was this Jinnah’s dream for Pakistan?