Pakistani minister concerned over Hindu abductions

A total of four girls and three boys of the Hindu community were forcibly converted to Islam last year, said Basant Lal Gulshan.

Islamabad: Forced conversions and increasing incidents of kidnapping have instilled a "deep sense of insecurity" in the minority Hindu community in Balochistan province of southwest Pakistan, a provincial minister has said.

A total of four girls and three boys of the Hindu community were forcibly converted to Islam last year, said Minister for Human Rights and Minority Affairs Basant Lal Gulshan.

Islamabad: Forced conversions and increasing incidents of kidnapping have instilled a "deep sense of insecurity" in the minority Hindu community in Balochistan province of southwest Pakistan, a provincial minister has said.

A total of four girls and three boys of the Hindu community were forcibly converted to Islam last year, said Minister for Human Rights and Minority Affairs Basant Lal Gulshan.

"At least 50 Hindu families have migrated from Quetta alone," he said.

These families had moved to rural areas of Balochistan and Sindh "because their rights were not safeguarded in Quetta".

Authorities have not begun investigating cases of forced conversion reported in Loralai, Chaman and Sibi areas, he said.

Gulshan criticised the Balochistan government for its lack of interest in the rights of minority communities. "I took up the issue with Chief Minister Aslam Raisani
and also discussed it on the Provincial Assembly floor, but they are not serious in addressing the grievances of minorities," he said.

According to a rough estimate, around 200,000 Hindus live across Balochistan and most of them are either businessmen or traders.

"Criminals consider Hindus an easy target for earning money," Gulshan said.

The minister said that as a member of the provincial cabinet, he would continue to raise his voice for Hindus, regardless of his reservations being ignored.

"My colleagues in the cabinet often say that this is not happening only with Hindus and that Muslims are being kidnapped as well. In some way, they justify the abductions," he said.

In a statement, the Balochistan chapter of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan expressed strong concern over the kidnapping of Hindus and urged the government to curb this menace.

Rajesh Kumar, the kidnapped pharmacist, is a member of HRCP.

PTI

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