» 08/17/2012, 00.00
PAKISTAN - INDIA
Persecuted in Pakistan, Hindu and Christian minorities find little protection in India
Hindu families are fleeing Pakistan fearing for their daughters kidnapped and forcibly converted and married to Muslims. Christian minorities suffer the same violence. In India there is a law for refugees and Hindus who have fled wait for decades for Indian citizenship. The Hindu nationalist party seeks protection only for Hindus. "Christians are doubly discriminated against." Policy towards minorities throughout South Asia urgently needed.
(AsiaNews) - The news of the flight of several Hindu families from Pakistan,
because of religious persecution, has shaken the political world in Delhi and
personalities remind us that Christians are subjected to the same sort of
Hindus and demand that India and Pakistan operate to ensure dignity and rights
to non-Islamic minorities.
13 August at least 250 people - all Hindu family groups - crossed the Wagah
border between India Pakistan, recounting that they had "been through
hell", marginalization and torture and asking for assylum.
order to understand their situation, AsiaNews
contacted Fr. James
Channan, from the Dominican the Peace Center in Lahore (Pakistan). "The
Hindu and the Christian community - he says - suffer the same problems at the
hands of Muslims, especially the radical Islamists. Young Hindu and Christian
girls and even teenagers are kidnapped by Muslims. The terrible thing is that
when they are found, the Muslims say they
have become Muslim and are married. Thus, their relatives - mothers and sisters
- tcan not even touch or come in contact with them. It is forced conversion and
is really a shameful act. " Last
year at least 20 girls were abducted, converted and married by force.
news of the exodus of 150 Hindu families to India - he continues - is a wake-up
call. Following this, President Asif Ali Zardari has launched a committee to
study the problem and the situation of non-Muslims in Pakistan. The governor
of the province of Sindh has formed a committee to produce a law in defense of
minorities and should get it approved by the Assembly. Similar legislation will
be presented to the National Assembly. It should protect non-Muslim minorities
from forced marriages and conversions to Islam ,
bringing a small amount of relief to the poor, disadvantaged, persecuted
minorities in Pakistan. "
and Christians in Pakistan - about 7 million out of a population of 180 million
- are committed and loyal citizens of Pakistan and contribute to the better
development of the country."
The problem of minorities in India
arrival of Hindu families from Pakistan is creating problems in India. In
fact, in the best cases, the families who fled remain in India as illegal
immigrants, since the country does not have a national law for refugees. All
arrivals come from neighboring nations depending on the situation. Thousands
of Hindu Pakistanis that have sought refuge in India in recent decades have not
yet received Indian citizenship. Hindus
fleeing Pakistan apply for a visa for pilgrimage or for family reasons and then
disappear into anonymity.
arrival of 250 Pakistani Hindus has led some parliamentary nationalist BJP
(Bharatiya Janata Party) and the BJD (Biju Janata Dal) to ask that Hindu
refugees be granted permanent visas. "If
persecuted Hindus do not find refuge in India, where they will go?" asked Prakash
Javadekar, BJP spokesperson.
proposal could result in a new discrimination: that of Christians. Sajan
K George, president of the Global Council
of Indian Christians (GCIC), outlined injustice present in the BJP proposal
to AsiaNews: "The Christian
community in Pakistan is also persecuted because of its religious identity and
should not be discriminated against by neighboring
countries, who promote and defend only Hindu ideology. "
Sajan George, "India must offer protection to all minorities in Pakistan
and South Asia and promote dignity, tolerance, minority rights for peace and
harmony in the region."
to the president of the GCIC, "India is an emerging power and should
formulate a policy towards minorities in South Asia, our country - the only
secular constitution in the region - should address the issue of minority
rights in the South Asian
Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC). "
Punjab: Muslims kidnap 14 year old Christian to convert her to Islam
Mehek Masih was taken from her home in broad daylight and under the threat of a gun. Muslim man intends to "purify her" making her "Muslim and my mistress." Archbishop Saldanha cases of this type are "frequent," the law does not protect minorities. One of the many "crosses" that Pakistani Christians have to endure.
The drama of Farah Hatim, common to many women in Pakistan
A 24 year old Christian kidnapped, forced to convert to Islam and marry her kidnapper. In court later she says it was voluntarily, to protect her family. Hundreds of similar cases occur every year in Pakistan, denounced by the commission for Justice and Peace.
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On 11 August, the 65th anniversary of the historic Ali Jinnah's speech to the Assembly, is the day dedicated to non-Muslims. Minister Paul Bhatti: "We are part of one nation" and the goal is to create "a prosperous and united Pakistan." Minorities’ integration in the political and social landscape of the country.
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