KARACHI: The police and representatives of the Hindu community gave contradicting statements over the issue of minority persecution in Pakistan during a meeting of the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Human Rights held on Friday.
During the meeting presided over by Committee Chairman Riaz Fatyana, the police maintained that minorities in Pakistan get equal rights and there was no Hindu migration from Sindh, while representatives from the Hindu community thought otherwise.
Additional Inspector-General (AIG) Falak Khursheed said, “Pakistan is a country where every citizen reserves the right to live his life the way he wants. Minorities especially Hindus girls are never pressurised to accept Islam or to convert their religion.”
He said that only three families had migrated to India while 200-300 other people had gone for a pilgrimage to their holy places this year.
On the other hand, minority MNA Dr Araish Kumar from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa said that the AIG was misguiding the committee by presenting wrong figures. He said that around 12 cases of forced conversions were reported in Tando Allahyar in past one month, while 7,000 Hindus had migrated to India in the past three years.
Mangla Sharma from Pakistan Hindu Council said that over 0.1 million Hindus from Sindh have migrated to India. She reiterated that the government has avoided providing 5% quota of jobs at government departments to minorities.
After a long discussion, the committee recommended that district-level special cells, with representatives from police, home department, civil society and Hindu community, be established to protect minority rights.
The committee further advised the Sindh government to lodge cases under the “Anti Terrorism Act” against those who attack temples and other worship places for minorities in Pakistan, and directed the home department and the provincial government to set up “safe houses” where kidnapped girls can be kept for around one month before being moved to any court.
The officials of the law department were also directed to prepare a draft on Hindu Personal Law with the input on Hindu community leaders.
Pakistan Muslim League – Quaid (PML-Q) MNA Dr Attiya Inayatullah, Chairman Pakistan Sikh Council Sardar Ramesh Singh and officials of law and home departments also expressed their views on the issue during the meeting.