On Saturday, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan ranted against PM Modi and India. The cricketer turned politician said that he will show the Narendra Modi government “How to treat minorities”, amid ongoing controversy over Bollywood actor Naseeruddin Shah’s remarks over intolerance in India.
Addressing an event directed at highlighting the 100-day achievements of the Punjab government in Lahore, Imran Khan maintained that his government is taking steps to make sure that religious minorities in Pakistan get their due rights, carrying forward the vision of Pakistan’s founder Mohammed Ali Jinnah.
Imran Khan said that his government is taking steps to ensure that the minorities feel safe, protected and have equal rights in his ‘New Pakistan’. He said, “We will show the Modi government how to treat minorities… Even in India, people are saying that minorities are not being treated as equal citizens.”
Moreover, in order to achieve Jinnah’s vision, Imran Khan’s Pakistan first needs to have minorities, safe and secure ecosystem, and constitutional provisions granting equal rights to minorities. Imran Khan Government’s record is not good when it comes to treating minorities. Almost immediately after assuming power, Imran Khan removed an eminent economist- Atif Mian, a Minority Ahmadi Muslim– from the economic council because of opposition from hard-line Islamists. Pakistan declared Ahmadis as non-Muslims in 1974. Places of worships and homes of Ahmadis are regularly targeted by Sunni Muslims who consider them heretics.
Furthermore, the plight of Asia Bibi in Pakistan is well known. Asia Bibi, a Christian lady who was falsely convicted of blasphemy by a Pakistani court and sentenced to death in 2010 but she was later acquitted in 2018 on the basis of insufficient evidence. Muslims of Pakistan launched a countrywide protest against her acquittal and demanded death sentence for her. At last, she had to shift to another country in order to save her life.
Pakistan is nothing less than hell for its minority Hindu population. Every year, thousands of Hindus flee Pakistan to avoid persecution. Thousands of Hindu girls are kidnapped and forcibly converted to Islam, and later, they are forcibly compelled to marry Muslim men. In Pakistan, the Hindus and other minorities face discrimination in all walks of life, be it schooling, employment or sports. Hindu places of worship are targeted and destroyed. Hence, one can conclude with that the Hindus in Pakistan have only three options:
Convert to Islam
The Hindu population of Pakistan has declined sharply since 1947. In 1947, the Hindu population of Pakistan was around 20 % but now it just stands at 1.85%.
Pakistani Schools spread hatred against Hindus in their textbooks. In Pakistan, Hindus were not allowed to join the armed forces until before 2000. According to a US Commission on International Religious Freedom report, “Hindus are repeatedly described as extremists and eternal enemies of Islam whose culture and society is based on injustice and cruelty, while Islam delivers a message of peace and brotherhood, concepts portrayed as alien to the Hindu.”
Recently, US Administration added Pakistan to a blacklist of countries that violate religious freedom and treat their minorities badly. In January, the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) recommended designating Pakistan as a “country of concern” because of its alleged “serious violation of religious freedom”. The report presented by them this year underlined that religious minorities in Pakistan are attacked by extremist groups and society on day to day basis. It also noted that “abusive enforcement of the country’s strict blasphemy laws result[s] in the suppression of rights for non-Muslims, Shia, and Ahmadis”.
When it comes to treating minorities like humans, Pakistan has a long way to go. Imran Khan instead of teaching India how to treat minorities should take a leaf out of India’s book and treat minorities with equality and dignity. Minorities in India enjoy maximum benefits, maximum privileges, concessions, and subsidies. There is a separate ministry that especially looks after the minority interests. Scholarship and financial assistance are given for education and weddings for minorities respectively. People coming from minority community went on to become President and Chief justice of India. In the incumbent Modi government, there are many cabinet ministers who hail from the minority community. Imran Khan needs serious schooling on how to treat its minorities and not PM Modi.