“Hindus living in constant fear”


Ever since the Partition of British India in 1947, the minorities have continued to suffer in Pakistan. The predicament of Hindus has been worse in the country. Facing all kinds of ordeals in Pakistan, they have continued to cross over to India and seek Indian citizenship. Recently, over 483 persons have come to India via Jodhpur border . Most of them are from the Sindh province. Since 2006 at least 100 families from Balochistan have migrated to India . The Hindus and the Baloch people had lived like brothers for several decades. The situation changed during the dictatorial days of General Zaiul- Haq (1977-1988). Muhammad Akbar Notezai, a freelance journalist based in Balochistan province, spoke to R C GANJOO on the plight of Hindus in the region. Excerpts

Q : What is the total population of the Hindus and other minority communities in Balochistan ? Tell us about their status. A : It is difficult to know exactly about their total population because of their mass migration. Minority communities, especially the Hindus, have been migrating from Balochistan to escape persecution. They are passing sleepless nights due to the constant fear in the troubled province. However, Hazaras (Shiites) are Balochistan’s largest religious minority with their total population 500000 followed by Hindus and Christians at 50000 and 32 to 35000 respectively. Hazaras and the Christians are living mainly in Quetta, the provincial capital of Balochistan. Hindus are living in Balochistan’s both Baloch and Pashtun belts. In the Pashtun belt, they are living in Lorlai and Chaman districts. In the Baloch belt Hindus are living in almost all districts . It is quite pathetic that the minority communities, including the Hindus, have not been provided an equal status with the Muslims . They are treated as low castes. They cannot marry the upper caste. The Hindus can vote only for a Muslim. There are no vacations declared on the Hindus’ religious festivity days. Q : Could you tell us more on the plight of the Hindu community in Balochistan? A : After partition Hindus left Balochistan’s Pashtun belt in a large number due to religious disturbances. However, they were living quite peacefully in Balochistan’s Baloch belt. The Baloch elders had given them economic and religious freedom . Hindus started facing numerous problems in the country, especially in Sindh, when General Zia-Ul-Haq was head of the country. But Hindus had lived a peaceful life in Balochistan even in that period. Sadly, the 1990s witnessed a great nightmare for the Hindus in Balochistan. During this time, due to the “Babri Masjid” incident in India, Balochistan’s Hindus had to face wrath. They were tortured, assaulted and humiliated in Balochistan. The Hindus temples were desecrated. Hindus faced manifold problems, like abduction, religious persecution, migration and killing. All this was intensified during former dictator General Parvez Musharraf ’s regime. In the regime of President Asif Ali Zardari it was worse, Hindus would be picked up for ransom by criminal elements. Hindu girls became victim of forcible conversions in both Sindh and Balochistan provinces. Q : What about the properties of those who have fled ? A : Some Hindu houses have turned into ‘ghost houses’. In the process of migrating some Hindus could not wait for good buyers and sold their houses very cheap . There are still a few houses where aged Hindu parents are living. They have sent their children to the other safe places of Pakistan and to India. These old and infirm parents do not want to leave their ancestral houses. There is also land mafias involved in the province to threaten Hindus to leave their houses. There are the Afghan refugees who want to occupy their property . Q : Why did tribal leaders fail to protect life, honor and property of the Hindus? A : Being a journalist, I put the same question to one of the wellknown Balochistan’s intellectuals. He said, “Where are the tribal leaders in Balochistan?” All of them have left Balochistan due to the same law and order situation. They are living in Karachi or abroad. Some of those tribal leaders who could extend respect for their Hindu community are no longer living in this world. Some have become very old or lost control over their young generation. Q : Would you suggest there should be political reservation for Hindus? A : Hindus are living in Balochistan for centuries. They are sons of this soil. They are patriots. They are peace-loving people. All political parties in Balochistan and the present government should take up this issue on priority. Hindus must live in peace and tranquility again in their own land . (Courtesy to: Power Politics)

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About Muhammad Akbar Notezai

Muhammad Akbar Notezai is a columnist-cum-political interviewer. He basically belongs to the largest district of Pakistan, Chaghi, which makes a triangular border with Afghanistan and Iran. He was born in Dalbandin (Headquarter of Chaghi), but presently he is living in Quetta. He contributes to these newspapers and periodicals: the Daily Times, The Baloch Hal, View Point, Bolan Voice, Power Politics (An Indian National Magazine), The Balochistan Point and Daily Balochistan Express, Quetta. In addition, he writes and interviews on social, political, cultural and Economic issues of Balochistan. He also covers Iranian Balochistan and Afghanistan.

Posted on July 19, 2013, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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