Pakistani Hindus demand protection from government

The Pakistan Hindu Council has asked authorities to ensure the protection of the minority community and its temples.

Islamabad: The Pakistan Hindu Council has asked authorities to ensure the protection of the minority community and its temples even as lawmakers walked out of the Balochistan assembly to protest the killing of a Hindu trader.

The Pakistan Hindu Council called on the governments of Sindh and Balochistan provinces to protect Hindus in the wake of protests in Mithi town in Sindh against the desecration of an ashram.

Such protection will enable Hindus to play their role in Pakistan`s development, PHC leaders said. PHC patron Ramesh Kumar Vankwani and president Raja Assermal Manglani told reporters at the Karachi Press Club yesterday that a man named Photo Bajeer had entered the Saint Nenuram Ashram at Islamkot in Tharparkar district on Sunday and indulged in "sacrilegious" acts.

Following this, there was a two-day shutdown in Mithi town to protest the desecration of the ashram. The Saint Nenuram Ashram is one of the most revered temples of the Hindu community in Pakistan.

Hundreds of people, including Muslims, are provided free food from its langar every day.

Fifty-five percent of Tharparkar district`s population of 600,000 is Hindus and Muslims and Hindus had coexisted in harmony for years with no incident that had hurt religious sentiments, the PHC leaders said.

Photo Bajeer was caught by people and handed over to police. However, police made no effort to obtain his remand or trace the people behind the incident.

Instead, police allowed the court to remand him to judicial custody, the PHC leaders said. Expressing apprehension that there was a conspiracy behind the incident, they alleged a local Pakistan People`s Party leader was trying to protect Photo Bajeer by using his influence with the police. The PHC appealed to the Governor and Chief Minister of Sindh to take notice of the incident and to expose those behind a "heinous conspiracy aimed at vitiating the peaceful atmosphere of Tharparkar".

The leaders also referred to the killing of businessman Ramesh Kumar and the abduction of his son Vijay in Quetta, the capital of Balochistan, on Monday.

Condemning the incident, the PHC appealed to Balochistan Governor Zulfiqar Magsi and Chief Minister Muhammad Aslam Raisani to order the arrest of the killers and recovery of Vijay.

The PHC urged them to ensure the protection of the Hindu community in Balochsitan. Meanwhile, ministers belonging to minority communities in Balochistan staged a walkout from
the provincial assembly yesterday to protest the killing and kidnapping of Hindu businessmen in Quetta and other parts of the province.

Minister Jay Prakash Narain drew the assembly`s attention to Monday`s incident in which a Hindu businessman was killed and his son was kidnapped in Quetta.

Such incidents had become the order the day and are causing a sense of insecurity among Hindus and other minority communities, he said.

Ministers Basant Lal Gulshan and Jaffar George condemned such incidents and stressed the need for immediate steps to protect the life and property of minorities.

They later walked out of the House to register their protest. On the request of the Speaker, other ministers brought the protesting ministers back to the House.

The assembly was informed that all possible steps are being taken to arrest the killers of the Hindu businessman and the recovery of his son.