Open Letter to Prime Minister of Pakistan
Subject: Persecution of non-Muslim Minorities in Pakistan.
Ref: – Continued Demolition of Hindu Temples and persecution of Hindus in Pakistan threatens peace in the sub continent.
Hon’ble Syed Yousuf Raza Gillani,
Prime Minster of Pakistan,
Hon’ble Prime Minister Gillani,
Freedom loving people all around the world and those believing in equality and freedom of all religions (billions in numbers) particularly Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists and others are appalled at the continued persecution of the minority Hindus in Pakistan and the colossal failure of the Govt. to stop this genocidal and highly provocative movement. The latest examples of this ongoing saga of unlawful and inhuman activities in Pakistan is contained in the below given attachments A, B & C. These are just a few instances that we reproduce as evidence though such acts of communal hatred and ethnic cleansing against the minorities, more importantly against Hindus and Sikhs, take place in the Islamic state on a regular basis.
This anti-Hindu, anti-Sikh crusade is not restricted to depriving them of their properties and places of worship but the abduction of Hindu women, forcible conversion to Islam and subsequent marriages with Muslim persons seems to have become a common place. How ironic yet hypocritical it is on the part of Pakistan to demand equal and special status for Muslims in other countries but refuse to provide the same treatment to its own non-Muslim minorities?
Mr. Prime Minister, how sad and regrettable it is that on the one hand your Govt. claims to be a representative Govt. yet it has elected to throw into the dust bin the numerous representations made by the victimized Hindu community of Pakistan against the oft repeated waves of criminal behavior towards them. As a member of the United Nations and its acceptance of the UN Charter, Pakistan is committed to maintaining freedom and equality of all religions. Unfortunately that commitment has fully and completely been trampled upon in the case of its non-Muslim minorities. The naked aggression by one religion with a view to deprive the other religions of their assets and sources of sustenance and the forcible conversions must be considered criminal and therefore, severely punishable under the law. Pakistan has failed in this test as well.
For safeguarding minority Hindu temples and institutions, it is absolutely important that the Govt. constitute a Waqf like autonomous Hindu Board. The role of the community in temple management and setting up Hindu Advisory Councils must be an integral part of the new policy. Such councils could play a meaningful role in oversight and decision making process utilized by the officials dealing with temples and their Trusts. Such Councils, elected or nominated by the Community, state and national religious leaders, could shoulder a significant amount of decision making and management responsibilities. They could also contribute in stopping the ongoing desecration and decimation of the religious infrastructures by recommending the necessary remedial measures for quick enforcement by the authorities.
We believe that the current high level talks between governments of India and Pakistan for “building trust” between the two nations would be futile if there is no proven and verifiable trust between Hindus and Muslims due to the former being continuously persecuted. As you might remember Mr. Prime Minister, the lack of trust between these communities was the very basis of Partition of India in 1947. We sincerely believe that at this point in time Pakistan has an invaluable opportunity in wiping out terrorism against Hindus and other non-Muslim minorities and prove to the world at large that she was not interested in aiding, encouraging and abating terrorists and militants and that the Indo-Pak talks were not just a political deception or gimmickry created by the Western world and Islamabad.
According to the information available to us Muslims in India do not only enjoy “equality” in their citizenship status but they were also showered upon special privileges and voluminous reservations in every walk of life. Consequently since the partition their population has increased four fold from 35 million (1951 census) to 140 million. However, according to reports, in Pakistan during the same period the numbers of Hindu and Sikh population have shrunk from 25-30% to less than 1%. Obviously such massive disappearance of the minority population in a short span of time speaks volumes about Pakistan’s policy towards her minorities.
The continuation of the policy of “hate crimes” against the non-Muslims by Islamabad at some point could likely have an adverse impact upon India’s liberal and special policy towards her Muslim population. Accordingly the question we might ask is it Pakistan’s goal to hurt the Indian Muslims by calling in to question India’s liberal policy towards her Muslim citizens? If not, in that case there has to be a radical transformation in Islamabad’s policy towards the non-Muslim citizens of Pakistan. Least your Govt. could do is to adopt a policy of reciprocity.
We do not need to remind you Sir, that there is already a huge amount of backlash and resentment against Islamic fundamentalism, terrorism and militancy in the West — Europe and America included. Your country has been described as the epicenter of these disturbing developments while the continuing persecution of minorities in Pakistan only enhances such a view. In America a vast majority of people are strongly questioning in fact publicly opposing the plan for building a grand Islamic Mosque in New York close to the site of the former World Trade Towers. And in France, the authorities are seriously considering a proposal to ban wearing of “burqas” in public by Muslim women! Additional half a dozen European states are said to be ready to follow that path.
Considering all these developments, a formal declaration by the Govt. of Pakistan, humanizing, liberalizing and bringing at par with modern states its policy towards non-Muslim minorities based on the above stated suggestions, could mark a turning point and provide a sound reason to the international community for taking a second look at the Islamic Republic and her attempts for updating her state craft. Turning the trend around by modernizing its approach towards her minorities would be in the best interest of Pakistan itself.
We would like to thank you in advance for your time and consideration. We are also hoping for receiving an early response, strongly upholding equality and freedom of all faiths as dictated by United Nations Charter and the universal principles of equality and reciprocity.
Dr. Jagan Kaul
Hindu Jagran Forum (USA)
July 30, 2010
Jul 21, 2010
Pak to demolish 87-yr-old temple
Amir Mir / DNA
Wednesday, July 21, 2010 0:55
Despite strong protest by Pakistan’s Hindu community, an 87-year-old pre-partition Hindu temple in Pakistan’s garrison town of Rawalpindi is facing demolition.
According to Jagmohan Kumar, the head of the Hindu community in Rawalpindi, the temple was being used by Hindus and Sikhs to perform last rituals of their dear ones.
According to the plaque fixed on the building, Lala Tansukh Rai, the Raees-e-Azam Rawalpindi, had constructed the temple in memory of his wife. “The ‘Shamshan Ghat’ is not only used by the locals but by the foreign missions of China and the Buddhist community as well”, Kumar said.
“The land for ‘Shamshan Ghat’ was allocated to the Hindus during the first tenure of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto when Kishan Chand Parwani was the federal minister for minorities in her cabinet. The temple is now being demolished while the open area is being maintained for the community”, he added.
According to Kumar, the original area of the ‘Shamshan Ghat’ land was 277 kanals and there were several temples along the Tipu Road and Nullah Leh. “Some of these temples were demolished before the partition while many were razed to ground after the Babri Masjid was demolished in 1992 in India. There were several temples in the adjacent localities of Raja Bazaar in Rawalpindi where there are now residential apartments”.
Jagmohan asked how the Muslims would feel if there mosques were demolished for residential purpose.
Hindu-Sikh body condemns temple demolition
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
RAWALPINDI: Pakistan Hindu Sikh Social Welfare Council in its meeting strongly denounced a so-called media group for trying to forcibly occupy a temple situated at Tippu Road, Javed Colony, here.
President of Pakistan Hindu Sikh Social Welfare Council Jag Mohan Kumar Arora vehemently criticised the Auqaf Department for its negligence. “The Auqaf Department is creating a rift between minorities and the government.”
He urged the government to take notice of the situation and ensure protection of minorities’ rights.Meanwhile, Federal Minister for Minorities Affairs Shahbaz Bhatti has condemned the demolition of an old temple at Tippu Road for commercial purposes.
Talking to APP here on Tuesday, he said that it was not good omen to damage the temple, which was built in 1923 in the memory of Tunkukh Rai.He said, “According to the Constitution of Pakistan, minorities have an equal right to live according to their religion”.
He took a serious notice of the incident and asked the Punjab government to conduct an inquiry into the incident and submit a report immediately. He also committed to safeguard temples, Gurdwaras, churches and other worship places of the minorities, adding, “It is a very shameful incident and no one is allowed to harm, demolish, disgrace or confiscate them.”
Meanwhile, rejecting the news item regarding the demolition of a temple at Tippu Road, Rawalpindi, the Evacuee Trust Board (ETB) clarified that the building was neither a temple nor had it any link to it.
Chairman Evacuee Trust Board Syed Asif Hashmi has formed a committee comprising leaders of Hindu Community to expose the conspiracy of spreading rumours by declaring the building as temple.
The committee would send its report to the board at the earliest. The Evacuee Trust Board had demolished an old building some days ago and some elements had declared the building as a temple. According to the spokesman of the ETB, the building was located near the Shamshan Ghatt and a temple was located on the distance of 500 yards from that building, which was demolished in 1992 after Babari Masjid Tragedy in a protest demonstration. The spokesman termed the protest triggered after demolishing the building a planned conspiracy
Posted by jagoindia on July 18, 2008
Pak digs up 300-yr-old Krishna temple for ‘relics’
Amir Mir, July 07, 2008, dnaindia.com
Authorities excavate temple courtyard without permission
ISLAMABAD: The desecration of Hindu temples goes on unchecked in Pakistan without any reprimand from the government.
On July 2, the courtyard of a 300-year-old ancient Krishna temple situated in the Shorkot town in Punjab was excavated on the orders of a senior government official, who wanted to dig out precious relics. They carried out the excavation without taking permission from the Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB), which looks after Hindu places of worship in Pakistan.
Case details reveal that Zubair Khurshid Bhatti the district coordination officer (DCO), Jhang district, forcibly entered the temple, broke all the ETPB seals and began digging the temple’s courtyard, which they claimed would unearth relics and statues of ancient gods and some holy books.
While Bhatti claims that locals asked him to excavate the temple’s courtyard, no local confirmed this. On the contrary, when Aman Das, a Hindu from the same vicinity’s main bazaar area was asked about the episode, he expressed feelings of deep hurt and mistrust. “We do not have much say even about issues related to the sanctity of our religion and places of worship,” he said.
“But when the authorities would not think of producing a relic by evacuating any ancient Muslim mosque in Pakistan, then why us?” asked Aman.
According to sources, the assistant administrator of the ETPB requested Bhatti time and again to stop the digging at the temple’s courtyard, but Bhatti snubbed him. Bhatti finally gave up after he could not find any relic. He then instructed his staff to fill up the 10-feet pit in the courtyard.
“This is sheer goonism. The senior government official misused his authority to dig out the temple courtyard. He did not pay heed to the Hindu locals who stood helpless in front of his authority,” expressed Shanti Das, Aman’s wife.
“Being a Hindu in a Muslim dominated society does not expel our right to go to temples or to protect them against demolition,” she added.
Prior to this incident, some statues of the Hindu gods were stolen from the Katas Raj temple, an incident which deeply hurt the sentiments of the Hindu minority in Pakistan.