ISLAMABAD: The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) on Friday expressed alarm and a strong sense of outrage at the continued exodus of religious minority communities from Sindh and Balochistan and said that it speaks volumes of the state’s inability to address concerns of these communities despite repeated reminders by the civil society.
In a statement issued here on Friday, the Commission said: “The state of anger and panic caused by the reports that several hundred Hindu citizens from Sindh and Balochistan were migrating to India has subsided somewhat by the disclosure that they were on a pilgrimage. Most of them said they would return to Pakistan while some said they might not.”
“In any case, reports of Hindu citizens’ migration to India have been coming from Sindh and Balochistan fairly regularly,” the rights body observed.
Worryingly, it said that some groups have managed to find sure-fire ways of forcing the minorities to migrate from Pakistan. “Some spokespersons of minorities have argued that vested interests are threatening and frightening the non-Muslim citizens with a view to forcing them to migrate. Some of these elements are said to be religious extremists while others have plans to grab the minorities’ property. In any case there is little doubt that the minorities have been driven to despair,” the statement added.
The commission noted that “religious minorities’ continued migration from Sindh and Balochistan is a reflection of the state’s failure to save these citizens from violence, discrimination and disgusting excesses such as forced conversion of young women.” It also noted that television evangelism has become a further cause of discomfort for the minority community. “The live telecast of a recent conversion of a young Hindu man on television is a particularly reprehensible and indefensible manifestation of the attitude towards non-Muslims.”
“HRCP desperately hopes that the government shares its distress in this respect and reiterates its call for the state to address, in consultation with the communities in question, the reasons forcing religious minorities to flee the country. HRCP also urges civil society organisations and the media to keep the spotlight firmly trained on the raw deal these communities are getting. Ahead of the forthcoming elections, the political parties also have an opportunity, through their manifestos, and more than that through their actions now, to articulate their vision for religious minorities in Pakistan,” the Commission maintained.