Friday, September 7, 2012

Pakistan is not Fit for Kaafir (Hindus/Christians)

Members of the Hindu minority in Pakistan fear persistent harassment at the hands of religious extremists and complain that there is little official protection accorded to them. Hindu activists argue that ‘secret files are kept on them and their integrity is always in question. They are not allowed into the armed forces, the judiciary or responsible positions in the civil service'. These allegations are substantiated by the facts, which reflect an almost negligible Hindu presence in the higher echelons of the administration, bureaucracy and armed forces. Discrimination and prejudice against the Hindus is reinforced by the religious orthodoxy, within educational institutions as well as by the state-controlled media. As a consequence of the oppression and discrimination, the last two decades have seen a steady exodus of Hindus from Pakistan. This exodus, however, has left behind a community that is most vulnerable and in urgent need of socio-economic protection. A significant proportion of the Hindus within the province of Sindh are the so-called untouchables, the Scheduled Caste Hindus. As haris these Scheduled Caste Hindus make up part of the pool of landless bonded labour of the province of Sindh. Sindh's agricultural wealth, to a large extent, has depended on the intensive and strenuous work of bonded labour in producing hugely profitable cash crops such as sugar cane. While huge profits are made by the wealthy landlords, this landless bonded labour, consisting of substantial number of Scheduled Caste Hindus, continues to suffer from abject poverty. They remain tied to the land where they are forced to work literally as slaves. The landlords ensure that these bonded labourers and their future generations remain illiterate and unable in any way to challenge the unfair system of exploitation. The National Assembly of Pakistan abolished bonded labour through the Bonded Labour Abolition Act 1992. However, the banned practices continue to thrive in many parts of Sindh; officials remain reluctant to interfere for fear of incurring the wrath of powerful ruling families. Hindus who do manage to break the vicious cycle of repression of bonded labour, nevertheless fail to gain any support from the general community. Existing taboos and rampant discrimination ensure that their employment prospects are confined to menial labour as Jamadars. Recent reports suggest increasing harassment and intimidation of women belonging to these Hindu communities. According to the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, during 1998 a number of disturbing cases came to light where Hindu women have been kidnapped, raped or forcibly converted to Islam. With overt, state-sponsored discrimination and repression, the Hindus of Pakistan remain deprived of their fundamental human rights. The Hindus are ‘unwanted' and ‘unwelcome' and continue to be associated with India. During the recent armed uprising in Baluchistan (2005-6) members of the small Hindu community were targeted and attacked by the Security Forces. All Hindus residing in the town of Dera Bugti were forced to take refuge either in the Sui region of Baluchistan or other provinces of Pakistan. The attacks resulted in the deaths of 33 Hindus, mostly men and young children. As with Christians, Hindus too constantly face the issue of forced conversion. Minority groups have expressed concerns about the persecution of Hindus and threats to their places of worship. In 2007 the only Hindu temple in Lahore was demolished to make way for a commercial building. REFERENCE: HINDUS

80s: General Ziaul Haq with Indian Film Star Shatrughan Sinha --- June 2010: ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry remarked that it was a criminal negligence to bring changes in the documents like Objectives Resolution as former president General (retd) Zia ul Haq tampered with the Constitution in 1985 however, the sitting parliament had done a good job by undoing this tampering. At one point Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry observed that the word ‘freely’ was omitted from the Objectives Resolution in 1985 by a dictator, which was an act of criminal negligence, but the then parliament surprisingly didn’t take notice of it. He said the Constitution is a sacred document and no person can tamper with it. The chief justice said credit must go to the present parliament, which after 25 years took notice of the brazen act of removing the word relating to the minorities’ rights, and restored the word ‘freely’ in the Objectives Resolution, which had always been part of the Constitution. The chief justice further said that the court is protecting the fundamental rights of the minorities and the government after the Gojra incident has provided full protection to the minorities. “We are bound to protect their rights as a nation but there are some individual who create trouble.” - DAILY TIMES - ISLAMABAD: Heading a 17-member larger bench of the Supreme Court on Tuesday, Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry termed as criminal negligence the deletion of a word about the rights of minorities from the Objectives Resolution during the regime of General Ziaul Haq in 1985. Ziaul Haq had omitted the word “freely” from the Objectives Resolution, which was made substantive part of the 1973 Constitution under the Revival of Constitutional Order No. 14. The clause of Objectives Resolution before deletion of the word ‘freely’ read, “Wherein adequate provision shall be made for the minorities to ‘freely’ profess and practice their religions and develop their culture.” DAILY DAWN - ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry on Tuesday praised the parliament for undoing a wrong done by the legislature in 1985 (through a constitutional amendment) when it removed the word ‘freely’ from a clause of the Objectives Resolution that upheld the minorities’ right to practise their religion. The word “freely” was deleted from the Objectives Resolution when parliament passed the 8th Amendment after indemnifying all orders introduced through the President’s Order No 14 of 1985 and actions, including the July 1977 military takeover by Gen Zia-ul-Haq and extending discretion of dissolving the National Assembly, by invoking Article 58(2)b of the Constitution. After the passage of the 18th Amendment, the Objectives Resolution now reads: “Wherein adequate provision shall be made for the minorities freely to profess and practise their religions and develop their culture.” The CJ said: “Credit goes to the sitting parliament that they reinserted the word back to the Objectives Resolution.” He said that nobody realised the blunder right from 1985 till the 18th Amendment was passed, even though the Objectives Resolution was a preamble to the Constitution even at the time when RCO (Revival of Constitution Order) was promulgated. REFERENCES: CJ lauds parliament for correcting historic wrong By Nasir Iqbal Wednesday, 09 Jun, 2010   - CJP raps change in Objectives Resolution * Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry says deletion of clause on rights of minorities was ‘criminal negligence’ * Appreciates incumbent parliament for taking notice of removal of clause by Gen Zia’s govt in 1985 By Masood Rehman Wednesday, June 09, 2010\story_9-6-2010_pg1_1  CJ lauds parliament for undoing changes in Objectives Resolution Wednesday, June 09, 2010 Says minorities’ rights have to be protected; Hamid says parliament should have no role in judges’ appointment By Sohail Khan

Mr Liaquat Ali Khan with US President Mr Harry Truman in USA: Congress leaders advised Hindus to leave Sindh which was viewed by the Sindhi Muslim leadership as a ploy to deprive Sindh of its merchants, bankers, and sanitation workers. According to Brown University’s associate professor of history Vazira Zamindar’s book The Long Partition and the Making of Modern South Asia (Columbia University Press, 2007): “Ayub Khuhro, the premier of Sindh, and other Sindhi leaders also attempted to retain Sindh’s minorities, for they also feared a loss of cultural identity with the Hindu exodus.” The Sindh government “attempted to use force to stem” the exodus “by passing the Sindh Maintenance of Public Safety Ordinance” in September 1947. On September 4, 1947 curfew had to be imposed in Nawabshah because of communal violence. It turned out that the policies of a local collector resulted in the exodus of a large Sikh community of Nawabshah to make room for an overflow of refugees from East Punjab. The Sindh government took stern action to suppress the violence. The Sindh government set up a Peace Board comprising Hindu and Muslim members to maintain order in the troubled province. PV Tahilramani was secretary of the Peace Board. He is the one who rushed to Khuhro’s office on January 6, 1948, at around 11am to inform the chief minister that the Sikhs in Guru Mandir areas of Karachi were being killed. According to Khuhro, senior bureaucrats and police officials were nowhere to be found and he rushed to the scene at around 12.30 pm where he saw “mobs of refugees armed with knives and sticks storming the temples”. Khuhro tried to stem the violence and Jinnah was pleased with his efforts. The prime minister, Liaquat Ali Khan, was angry with Khuhro when he went to see him on January 9 or 10. Liaquat said to Khuhro: “What sort of Muslim are you that you protect Hindus here when Muslims are being killed in India. Aren’t you ashamed of yourself!” In the third week of January 1948, Liaquat Ali Khan said the Sindh government must move out of Karachi and told Khuhro to “go make your capital in Hyderabad or somewhere else”. Liaquat said this during a cabinet meeting while Jinnah quietly listened. The Sindh Assembly passed a resolution on February 10, 1948, against the Centre’s impending move to annex Karachi. The central government had already taken over the power to allotment houses in Karachi. Khuhro was forced to quit and Karachi was handed over to the Centre in April 1948. REFERENCE: Who orchestrated the exodus of Sindhi Hindus after Partition? By Haider Nizamani Published: June 4, 2012

Objective Resolution &; Minorities: 5 Adequate provision shall be made for the minorities to freely profess and practice their religions and develop their cultures. Wherein adequate provision shall be made for the minorities to [1][freely] profess and practice their religions and develop their cultures; - Wherein shall be guaranteed fundamental rights including equality of status, of opportunity and before law, social, economic and political justice, and freedom of thought, expression, belief, faith, worship and association, subject to law and public morality; Wherein adequate provisions shall be made to safeguard the legitimate interests of minorities and backward and depressed classes; Ed. note: Mr. Ardeshir Cowasjee's article 'The sole statesman - 4' - published in Dawn on July 9, 2000 - makes an interesting observation about a potential disparity between the original Objectives Resolution and the Annex inserted into the Constitution by P. O. 14 of 1985. The word "freely", which appears in the original Resolution, notes Mr. Cowasjee, is missing from the clause: "Wherein adequate provision shall be made for the minorities to profess and practice their religions and develop their cultures;" The Constitution (Eighteenth Amendment) Act, 2010 (Article 99), with effect from April 19th, 2010, has corrected this by inserting the word "freely" at the correct place. REFERENCE: REFERENCE: ANNEX [Article 2(A)] The Objectives Resolution Editor's note about Objectives Resolution

Yaar, Samjha Karo’ Ammar Shahbazi: No, you don’t get lynched or forcibly converted if you are a Hindu living in this city, unlike your brethren in certain parts of the country. But your sense of being different is often stoked in the unlikeliest of situations, especially when you interact with the wider community and identify yourself as a Hindu. A small, seemingly trivial incident, brings home this painful reality and offers a reminder of how deeply entrenched everyday discrimination can be. Rajesh*, a student and social activist who runs a school for poor children near Punjab Chowrangi, wanted to print a panaflex with a picture of the baby Lord Krishna, on the occasion of Janmashtami — the birthday of Krishna — which is being celebrated across the world today (Friday). To a Muslim and someone not aware of this attitude, it seemed surprising that Rajesh felt his routine task would not be an easy one. He had delayed the job of getting the material printed, and his Hindu friends in the printing business were already overbooked with orders. Ambling from one printer’s shop to another on Pakistan Chowk, the hub of the printing industry in the city, Rajesh carries a sample color printout he has designed for the panaflex, and shows it to the shopkeepers. All he gets in return are blank looks and polite smiles and the address of a printer a few lanes away who prints ‘Hindu material’. With a wry smile on his face, Rajesh points out how terrible it feels to be put through this humiliation. “On major occasions like Janmashtami, we can’t afford to leave anything to the last moment; people here usually don’t print pictures of our deities, because they find them ‘jinxed’, I guess.” Agha, one of the printers who declined to print Rajesh’s ‘Hindu material’, doesn’t want to explain why he did not take the order. “Bus Yaar, Samjha Karo” (buddy, please try to understand!), he said with a sheepish smile. On my insistence, Agha divulged that some of his workers refuse to work on pictures of “Murtis” (statues) in Ramazan. However, Rajesh said that the printers routinely decline to print their religious material, irrespective of whether it is Ramazan or not. “I usually go to a Hindu printer because that’s the safest bet. They do the job without whining, keeping the sacredness of the material in mind.” Amar, a Hindu who works nearby, concurs with Rajesh. “Yes, there are people here who decline outright taking printing orders from Hindus, especially if the printers are of a religious bent,” he said. “But many Muslims do not mind either.” Amar said that discrimination surely exists but it is not something widespread. “I print this kind of material here and my employer, who is a Muslim, does not say anything to me.”
The Muslims printers, when approached, are usually evasive about their behavior. One of them, a twenty-something man named Qasim, said that it’s forbidden for Muslims to help spread the religious message of non-Muslims, so he does not want to become a part of this activity. Rajesh said he just wanted to print a panaflex for the Hindu children in the school he runs. “It’s an important event so I wanted to make it a bit special for them. But I think this year I will have to go without the panaflex. But who knows, somebody might just take the order.” So Rakesh kept on trying his luck, with the sample in his hand, moving from one shop to another on Pakistan Chowk. REFERENCE: ‘Bus Yaar, Samjha Karo’ Ammar Shahbazi Friday, August 10, 2012 
30 Minutes: Pakistani Hindus nobody's countrymen

The Hindu population of Pakistan makes up a small minority of about 1.96 million, or 1.2 per cent, of the total population. An overwhelming majority of the Hindus (96 per cent of the total Hindu population in Pakistan) live in rural areas of Sindh. There are heavy concentrations of Hindus in Sanghar and Tharpakar district, which borders with India. There are also small pockets of Hindus in interior Baluchistan and Punjab. The Hindus of Pakistan - residing in the interior of Sindh or Baluchistan - belong principally to the so-called untouchable class, the Scheduled Caste Hindus. Many of them are landless bonded labourers, working on the lands of big Sindhi landlords (known as Jagirdars). Those who live in towns and cities also have a menial standing and are generally employed as sweepers or Jamadars. Sindh at one time had a very sizeable Hindu population; however, at the time of partition large numbers migrated to the Indian side of the border. The partition of India in August 1947 resulted in genocidal campaigns against religious minorities, with the Hindus in Pakistan suffering most. In addition to the genocide, several million Hindus were forced to become refugees. Those who decided to stay behind in Pakistan after partition had to face constitutional limitations and social stigma. One of the country's principal and primary constitutional documents, the Objective Resolution of March 1949 makes provision for non-Muslims to freely profess and practise their religion, and this tolerant spirit is reflected in the provisions of the 1956, 1962 and the 1973 constitutions. However, despite the presence of these constitutional guarantees, the Hindu community both prior to and even after 1971 has been a continual target of suspicion and has often been treated as a fifth column. Political expediency has allowed Hindus to be treated as scapegoats for the general incompetence of governments in power. While Islam has been used as the great rallying force for political ends, conversely, and for the same purposes, Hindus have been treated as anti-state and anti-Islamic elements, discriminated against and persecuted, arguably becoming victims of genocide during the secessionist war of 1971. Hindus generally lack equal access to education, employment and social advancement. The tiny minority of Hindus that remains in the truncated Pakistan of today, continues to find itself vulnerable to exploitation and abuse. The constitutional amendments introduced by General Zia-ul-Haq have adversely affected the position of the Hindu minority. More significantly, the rise in religious extremism within South Asia, with periods of tense political relations between India and Pakistan, has led to greater violence and physical attacks on Hindus. Thus the Hindus of Pakistan frequently suffer from outbursts of anti-Hindu sentiments generated through a backlash of violations against the rights of Muslims in India. The Babri Masjid incident (December 1992) provides a tragic example, when anger at the demolition of the mosque in Ayodhya (India) was vented against the Hindus and their properties in Pakistan. It is estimated that between 2-8 December 1992 about 120 Hindu temples were destroyed in various parts of Pakistan. In a number of instances, gangs of frenzied men entered these temples, smashed the idols of revered Hindu gods and goddesses, snatched the jewels that adorned them, and made off with the charity boxes containing donations. Several shops were looted or burnt, with the cost of damages running into millions of rupees. More than 500 non-Muslims, primarily Hindu families, were victimized and tortured; angry crowds entered their houses, destroyed their furniture and household goods and took away their savings and jewellery. There were also physical attacks on members of the Hindu community. A number of Hindus were killed, including a family of six who were burned to death in Loralia. Compensation for the damage to life and property has not been forthcoming. REFERENCE: HINDUS

Top Indian actor-turned-politician Shatrughan Sinha, in an interview to The News, recalled unfading memories of his eight-year association with the former Pakistani President, General Ziaul Haq. Shatrughan is in Pakistan these days to attend the birth day ceremony of Zain Zia, special daughter of late General Zia. He recalled that even military tension between the two countries on several occasions could not break his ties with the Zia family. Shatrughan whose name became household in Pakistan after he was declared a state guest by General Zia recalled that how Zia used to receive him with great affection. Giving details of his first meeting with General Zia, Shatrughan said he was on a personal visit to Karachi in 1981, when he received a message that the president of Pakistan wanted to meet him in Islamabad. He was greatly surprised to receive this unusual invitation, he said. Shatrughan said he came to Islamabad where he was given a royal reception by General Zia whose daughter Zain turned out to be his big fan. He said Zain loved his acting and had asked her father to arrange a meeting with him. Zia returned after performing Umra the same day and could not meet the Indian actor. The next day, General Zia took Shatrughan to his family where the latter was surprised to see the passions of a small girl, Zain, for him. Shatrughan said being so close to Zia, he had played a major role in removing many misconceptions between the two countries and their people as he used to tell his friends and media men in India about many positive things of Pakistan. He recalled that he was given special treatment by General Zia. He said once he with his family was riding in a car and being escorted by military and police motors and people standing on roads thought he was perhaps arrested in Pakistan. He said even General Zia was taunted for spending hours with an Indian actor. But, he said Zia never compromised his relations with him. He said once his kids lost their pet black cat named 'Michael Jackson' in Bombay. When they came with him at the Army House, Rawalpindi, to meet the Zia family, they spotted a black cat in the lawn and rushed to capture it shouting they had found their ÔMJÕ. He said to his great astonishment, General Zia also stood up and rushed behind his children to ensure that they did not fall on the ground. He said he could not forget those unusual moments in his life watching Zia running after his kids. He said when Dr Anni, daughter of General Zia, got married he was one of the few privileged people who were invited. ÒRather I was the host at this wedding as I was deputed to receive and see off guestsÓ, he said. He said when General Zia came to India to watch Pakistan-India cricket match in Jaipur state as part of cricket diplomacy, he received a telephone call from Zia himself to accompany him to watch the match. REFERENCE: Shatrughan cherishes memory of friendship with Zia Rauf Klasra Shatrughan Sinha keeps date with 'sister' Zain Zia across the border PTI Jan 18, 2012, 05.07PM IST

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