Resignation of Hindu lawmaker alarming: Pak daily

The resignation of a Hindu lawmaker who had received threats is "alarming", said a Pakistani daily.

Last Updated: Feb 02, 2011, 11:56 AM IST

Islamabad: The resignation of a Hindu lawmaker who had received threats is "alarming", said a Pakistani daily, adding that "no minority, irrespective of caste, creed or religious beliefs, is safe" in the country.

An editorial in the Daily Times Wednesday said: "On Saturday the resignation of a Hindu member of the Sindh Assembly, Ram Singh Sodho, after reportedly receiving threats is alarming."

Sodho was elected in 2008 on a Pakistan Muslim League-Functional (PML-F) reserved seat for minorities. Fearing for his life, he sent in his resignation from India to the speaker of the Sindh assembly, Nisar Ahmad Khoro.

"Historically, minorities - especially Hindus - in Sindh and Balochistan have been an integral part of society. Even during the time of partition when Punjab was witnessing some of the worst communal riots in the history of the subcontinent, Sindh and Balochistan were comparatively peaceful.

"Interior Sindh is abundant with prominent Hindu families that thrive economically and have been central to the province`s development. These families are also steeped in and maintain the indigenous heritage and culture of Sindh," the editorial said.

Noting that religious intolerance has been "in the forefront ever since the Lal Masjid operation in 2007", it said: "No minority, irrespective of caste, creed or religious beliefs, is safe."

Citing media reports that 400 to 500 Pakistani Hindu families, who have received threats, are trying to obtain Indian citizenship, the editorial pointed out that with attacks on "Shias, Ahmedis, Christians and now Hindus becoming a daily occurrence, the Pakistan People`s Party (PPP) government, which champions itself as the defender of minority rights, must deliver".

It bluntly said that successive governments have "failed to legislate and provide sufficient mechanisms for protecting minorities".

"The blame is even greater on the governments during the 1970s and 80s for promulgating laws that ostracised minorities. Minority groups rightly raise questions as to the fulfilment of the promise made before partition for the integration as full and equal citizens of minorities in Pakistani society."

The editorial said that due to the "extremism that has crept into society, we have become increasingly intolerant. The greatest example of this is the assassination of (Punjab governor) Shaheed Salman Taseer for his stance on the right of a Christian woman to justice".

IANS