After a weary stay of four hours at the Wagah border, over 200 Hindu pilgrims from Jacobabad, allegedly migrating to India, were cleared by the interior ministry to cross over into the neighbouring country.
According to reports, immigration authorities had stopped 242 pilgrims from crossing the Wagah border into the Indian territory Friday morning.
At that point, only two families were allowed to cross the border as they were given permits by the interior ministry.
Immigration authorities said they were waiting for the interior ministry to give a security clearance, allowing the 60 families to travel to India.
The pilgrims were stopped in the wake of a rumour that they were migrating to India due to fears for their life and property in Pakistan. Even though, they were issued a 40-day pilgrim travel permit to attend the annual Yatra, speculations were rife that they would not return to Pakistan.
Immigration authorities had initially informed the pilgrims that the interior ministry’s decision would be given in the next 48 hours. However, after a four-hour long peaceful protest, the Hindu pilgrims were allowed to cross borders.
One of the pilgrims complained it was illegal for authorities to not let them cross the border since visas were issued to them.
“If we are not allowed to go to India, why were we given visas?” he said.
Dispelling rumours of migration, he said that many Hindus go to India every year to perform Yatra and they return to Pakistan as it is their country.
Earlier, Interior Minister Rehman Malik had termed the migration of families belonging to Hindu community from Jacobabad a ‘conspiracy’ against Pakistan.
Forced migration must be checked: HRCP
Meanwhile, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) expressed concerns on reports of the alleged “forced migration” of religious minority communities from Sindh and Balochistan.
In a statement issued on Friday, the commission said some minorities in Sindh and Balochistan claimed that certain groups are threatening them to leave Pakistan.
“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,” the report noted.
In addition, 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, the HRCP said in its statement.
MNA, minority leaders deny reports
Mir Aijaz Hussain Jakhrani, a Pakistan Peoples Party MNA from Jacobabad, rejected reports that the Hindu community in Sindh was migrating out of Pakistan due to security issues. He called it as “mere propaganda”.
Addressing a press conference here on Friday, Jakhrani said his government has always protected the rights of minorities, while calling the Hindu community the “beauty of Sindh”.
He was flanked by Sindh Minister for Excise and Taxation Mukesh Kumar Chawla, Sindh Minister for Minority Affairs Mohan Mal Kohistani, the Hindu Panchait President for Jacobabad Babo Mahesh Kumar, and other minority leaders from the district at the press conference.
“The total population of Hindus in Sindh is about 4.5 million and hundreds of them go to India each year for religious rituals. This year, 247 got visit visas from different parts of the province and only 20 of them are from Jacobabad,” he clarified.
“Hindus love Sindh and consider it their motherland. There are certain families who stay in India after the expiry of their visas or don’t want to come back but it is propaganda against our government,” he said.
“We love Sindh and are Pakistani. We are considered as Pakistanis in India not as Hindus,” said Hindu Panchait President for Jacobabad Kumar.
With additional reporting by Sameer Mandhro in Karachi and additional input from ONLINE
Published in The Express Tribune, August 11th, 2012.
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@Raj: This is very nice of you to help and the other thought comes to mind is that these very people decided to stay back in Pakistan in 1947 because of their financial interests. They had too much to lose at that time and their religion did not mean much to them. They should have left everything to come to this side of the country, like my mother and her family did and started their lives from scratch. These people are opportunists, coming our way is because the grass is certainly looks and is greener in India. I have no respect for these guys.
The picture attached to this article doesn't have even one female in it. Is it that only hindu men are allowed to leave the country, leaving their women behind?
i feel proud to be an Indian, the central government should welcome our Hindu neighbors and should consider them as Indian citizens.by this way we can protect human's right and our ancient religion. India has a vast Sindhi Hindu population starting from Delhi to Tamilnadu in south,they live peacefully.my friend who hails from shikarpur in sindh province says that their ancestors have given him a good future.
@Muhajir: please my friend do it at the earliest possible. please please do it.
Coming to the issue of houses in Mumbai. Resul Pookutty, the Oscar award winning sound designer was refused a house in Mumbai because he and his wife didn't look like Muslims.
@Muhajir: How come you forgot to invite Indian Muslims for whom Pakistan was created?
@Pungi: My house is not in Mumbai. Shabana Azmi is a celebrity in India and any Indian would love to help her. BTW, she has a house in Mumbai. We love her husband to write beautiful songs for the movie KARGIL L.O.C. Cheers, take care!!!
If Pakistani Hindus don't love Pakistan, that's fine. If Pakistani Hindus want to bad mouth Pakistan, that's fine. If Pakistani Hindus want to leave Pakistan, that's fine.
We will invite the Rohingya Muslims to Pakistan. We will invite the Assamese Muslims to Pakistan. We will invite the Thai Muslims to Pakistan. We will invite the Bihari Muslims to Pakistan. We will invite the Somali Muslims to Pakistan. We will invite the Sudani Muslims to Pakistan. We will invite the Kenya Muslims to Pakistan. We will invite the Nigerian Muslims to Pakistan.
Come all Muslims, Come all you Biharis, Rohingya, Somali, Sudani, Nigerian.
Welcome to Peace. Welcome to Islam. Welcome to Sindh, Welcome to Paksiatn.
@Omar: Apologies. I misunderstood your comment which you have now clarified. I agee with it. However, Pakistan Government and some of its cronies hopefully will notice that future of muslims in the West is looking bleak. UK government have reduced visa application from Pakistan in recent times. If you were to have a Pakistani passport and land at Heathrow, expect lengthy questioning from Customs and Immigation. It is less for Indian passport holders.
PPP proved again , that people are leaving Pakistan from the nearest exit !
@Iqbal: That wasn't my question , wonder what and why are you replying ! I mentioned about Pakistani authorities, showing concern not UK authorities... Sawaal gandum Jawab channa !
@Omar: I hate to say this but being a resident in UK I can confirm that the UK government is more likely to grant asylum to hindus then to muslims especially from Pakistan. This is because hindus are doing very well in some quarters and contributing a lot to the UK economy. Recent statistics reveal that hindus are four times less likely to be unemployed then muslims. Furthermore, muslims are more likely to be involved in crime then the hindus. Ask yourself why should they welcome muslims if they have a horrific record.
@Raj They are there for Yatra only, you can donate that home to Shabana Azmi since she was not allowed to buy a house in Mumbai just because she is a Muslim...Or your generosity is just limited to Hindus? @BruteForce Indian occupied forces won't let them live there, bcoz they are not hostile to Muslims only but Pakistanis actually..!
Why? So they can be blown away by some suicide bomber, be killed for being the wrong ethnicity in Karachi, or experience some wide scale load shedding?
Indian muslims should do the same.
Strange that these Hindu's continue to want to stay in a state which was created based on the idea that Hindu's and Muslims cannot live together. They must have accepted "dhimmitude" or fear persecution of their remaining family members who they leave behind in Pakistan.
The most ironic thing is today, not only Hindu's but even Muslims communities are trying to immigrate to India.
PPP rocks man, atleast Hindus got a cheaper option to escape in words of Ex-PM Gillani' if they dont like me, they can leav e Pakistan' - (now thats a seperate thing that the PM himself left the PM House)
Failure to provide protection to citizens and then cutting off their escape route is evil. Pakistan did not do that even in 1947.
Even if the Hindus are applying asylum in India, its their own choice.Do they show the same suspicion when Muslims travel to UK, and apply asylum there ?
You can leave your daughters and sisters in India with your relatives. You can leave them for their own good and let them have a great future.
Our house is vacant in Amritsar district as my parents are deceased and no body lives there. I, and my brother can help one Hindu family from Pakistan to live in our vacant house. I want some Pakistani NGOs' phone numbers whom we can contact.
Proud of our muslim and hindu heritage