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Plight of Hindus in Balochistan

Raza Baloch

Hindu community has always remained an integral part of Pakistan. After the partition of subcontinent majority of Hindu population migrated to India, while those who remained in Pakistan adjusted with Muslim population peacefully. Hindu community as like others is patriotic Pakistani. Among them, many big names from this community served Pakistan in distinguished positions. For instance, Justice Rana Bhagwan Das, a prominent Hindu judge has served as the chief justice of Pakistan, Danish Kaneria and Anil Dalpat two famous cricketers have played for the National Cricket team of Pakistan, Deepak Parwani, is one of the country’s most famous fashion designers and Ashok Kumar a Pakistani soldier laid his life in battlefield in Waziristan in 2013 and was posthumously awarded Tamgha-e-Shujaat.

Plight of Hindus in Pakistan started from the Zia’s Islamization policies in the country, prior to that they were living in harmony throughout the country. They were times when the Hindu and Muslim community used to attend weddings and funeral ceremonies of each other. Sadly, now both communities are socially segregated and Hindus are confined to Hindu colonies. Before year 2000 Hindus were not allowed to join Pakistan army, but later on Pervez Musharraf started the induction process of Hindus in Pakistan’s armed forces. However, Hindus are always questioned for their patriotism to Pakistan, mainly in World cup matches of cricket, whether to support Pakistan or India.

Since 2000 Hindus throughout Pakistan are not safe, as 700 families have fled to India. Pakistani Hindus’ misery is not limited in one country; when they are in Pakistan they are termed as RAW agents and when they migrate to India, the right wing Indians term them as Pakistani agents. They are the citizen of ‘’no man land’’ and sandwiched between the Indo-Pak tensions.

Plight of Hindu community in Balochistan is same as in other parts of Pakistan. Kamal Rajput chairman Balochistan Women Skills & Education center Quetta (BWSEC) and a Hindu human rights defender describes that Hindus are more than 25,000 in strength. Hindus are treated as a second class citizen despite being the mercantile class. Thus, they are the soft targets and they are being kidnapped for ransom. The greater irony is that Hindu school girls after having passed 8 class do not go to school for further education due to the fear of forced conversions. There are 1,000 girls belonging to Hindu community who aspire to get enrolled in secondary education.

Islamiat is a compulsory subject in Balochistan board and Hindu students study Islamiat up to class 8th. Nevertheless, Hindu community is not provided education of their own religious books as a subject. Hindu community does not have separate or specific education system with which they could profess their religious teachings freely among their community members. Hindu community is a regular tax payer to Balochistan government but they are not eligible to get Zakat fund.

Force conversion is only applied to Hindu community and they are soft targets for extremists. There are only 3 MPAs seats reserved for minorities but the elected politicians from different political parties do not dedicate, donate and invest their funds to the welfare of these marginalized minorities. There is no specific funding, scholarship opportunity for Hindu community. 5% quota for Government jobs is not implemented and even in private sectors like NGOs Hindu community is neglected.

Mr. Kamal Rajput requested Dr. Ruquyya Hashmi, member of Balochistan’s provincial assembly in to safeguard their fundamental interests. Dr. Ruqaiyya vowed to highlight the issue in upcoming assembly session at assembly floor so that Hindu community gets their legitimate rights. Furthermore, she ensured them to provide scholarships and funds to Hindu community from her own MPA funds and will bring development schemes for Hindu community in upcoming budget.

Published in The Balochistan Point on January 25, 2016

Disclaimer: Views expressed in this article are those of the author and The Balochistan Point not necessarily agrees with them.

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