Press conference on the Rights of Minorities in Sindh

08-10-2014

On 13th of August 2014, the partners of Global Human Rights Defence (GHRD) organised a press conference to raise awareness on the situation of minorities in Sindh province. 

Mr. Motumal, Legal Adviser for Pakistan Hindu Seva (PHS) and President of Hindu Panchayat Karachi (HPK), discussed issues of minorities in Sindh, with a special focus on the issue of migration and the forced conversion of minorities. He added that many female minors (of minority groups) in Sindh are regularly abducted and are forced to convert to Islam. Most of these cases are not well-publicized due to corruption and improper representation of minorities in Sindh. Regarding the issue of migration, Mr. Motumal emphasised the fact that the number of migrants to India is low, despite media contradictory media reports. Furthermore, Mr. Motumal contends that Pakistani Hindus should be seen primarily as citizens of Pakistan, and that their religious persuasion should not distract from this.

Mr. Motumal iterated the fact that growing religious extremism in Pakistan has created a bad image of Pakistan at the international level and claimed that the government should be aware of this.

Motumal said “This act experienced in Sindh in the name of Islam was not conversion but the abduction and trade of Hindu girls, conversion to any religion should be after dialogues and sensible discussion instead of using force and criminal tactics.” [1]

Mr. Dhanja, President of PHS, discussed that a job quota of 5% is available for minorities in organizations but it is not implemented in more than 90% of organization. He believes that this adversely affects the outlook and self-image of the youth of Hindu communities, a substantial part of the Pakistani population. Moreover he insisted that government should seriously work on this issue so Hindu youths will be able to  focus on their education without fear of a future with no opportunities. 

Mr. Kolhi, Vice President of PHS, shared PHS’s recent fact findings which were conducted in collaboration with GHRD in Sindh. It was found that there were many problems  regarding bonded labour in Umerkot, Sanghar and Mirpurkhas districts. In Hyderabad, the problem of bonded labour and forced conversion are predominant. Other human rights violations are prevalent in healthcare and children’s education in Tharparkar and Tharpar districts. Mr. Kolhi recently published an article regarding these issues in Daily Times Pakistan. Furthermore, in Tharpar district, many children belonging to minority groups have no access to education.  Though staff is being paid many schools are not in operation. As a result many children belonging to minority groups have no access to education in this area. 

Recently, a Hindu male in the Badin district was shot dead and no actions were taking by the police or law enforcers. PHS is currently working on this case. Unfortunately up to this day the investigation is pending due to difficulties in contacting relatives of the victim, who are forced to travel due to circumstances.

PHS state that recently seven Hindu temples were demolished. The temples were destroyed in Larkana, Tharparkar, Jamesabad and in a small village neighbouring Hyderabad, as well as Hyderabad itself. However, no arrests have been made and no actions have been taken by the government to provide security to the Hindu minority in these areas, despite the specific request by the Hindu population. Mr. Kolhi’s article in News Bharti  provides a deeper insight into this issue.

Unfortunately, nothing has changed so far. The human rights situation for minorities in Pakistan is still deplorable.

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