The persecution of Sikhs and Hindus in Pakistan is unaccaptable!

A policeman stands guard at a Sikh temple that a group claims is the burial site of a Muslim saint. PHOTO: ABDUL MANAN , ET

The following two incidents should be a source of shame to all Pakistanis.  The first instance involves our dear Sikh Pakistani brothers and sisters and this is how Express Tribune reported it:

The Sikh community in Lahore have been prevented from observing a religious celebration at a gurdwara, their musical equipment thrown out and their entry barred, after a religious group persuaded the Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) that celebrating the Muslim holy day of Shab-e-Barat was more important than the Sikh religious festival.

Police have been deployed outside the temple to prevent the Sikhs from conducting their religious ceremonies until the end of Shab-e-Barat, which falls on July 18 this year. The Sikh community wanted to commemorate an eighteenth-century saint on July 16.

The Gurdwara Shaheed Bhai Taru Singh, in Naulakha Bazaar, Lahore, is built to honour the memory of a Sikh saint who was executed in 1745 on the orders of the Mughal governor of Punjab, Zakaria Khan. Every July, the Sikh community has held religious ceremonies to commemorate his sacrifice in the service of humanity.”

Sikhs Kept Out of Their Temple for Shab-e-Barat

The areas in and around Lahore represent the holiest sites for Sikhs. Can we imagine muslims getting this kind of treatment in Mecca and Madina.  Actually, if these muslims happen to be from the Ahmedi or Shia sects, then they are treated in a similar manner. Ahmedi muslims and Shia muslims are routinely harassed, limited, abused and disallowed in doing their Hajj.

We at LUBP unequivocally condemn this act of bigotry and call upon Chief Justice Chaudhary Iftikhar to take IMMEDIATE Suo Moto action. The CJ should use his good working relations with the Punjab government to resolve this matter at the earliest and give the Sikh community access for their prayers.

The most important long term solution to end religious extremism and persecution of minority muslim sects and religions is for the State to end its policy of strategic depth. This policy provides the oxygen to religious extremism and has devoured the State at the expense of the security establishment and its media, Fake Civil Society and Judiciary proxies.

Similarly, the following incident was brought to our attention by our readers and we are reprinting it.  This incident highlights the grave difficulties faced by Pakistan’s Hindu communities.  In the absence of a law for marriage registrations, Hindu women are vulnerable to a barrage of human rights violations. This is simply unacceptable and we urge the President Zardari to take notice and our Judiciary to NOT impede the legislature and executive (like they did with possible President pardon for Aasiya Bibi) in the passage of progressive and secular laws.

Islamabad, Jul 11 (PTI) A Hindu couple tied the knot without any pomp and ceremony outside a press club in southern Pakistan to protest the lack of a law for registering the marriages of the minority community.

Since 1947, Hindu couples have not been legally accepted as husband and wife,” said Guru Sukh Dev, who solemnised the wedding. “Consequently, many domestic, social and psychological problems arise for Hindu families, especially for the women,” he said. The marriage was organised by Ramesh Mal, a leader of scheduled caste communities. Since the creation of Pakistan, there have been no laws for Hindu marriages, he said. “The Pakistani government should take a cue from India and introduce laws to protect Hindu marriages,” said Mal.  Hindus have problems obtaining national identity cards and passports, registering married women, and conducting property transfers.

Even travelling inside the country becomes difficult, he said. Mal said, “many young girls from his community are abducted, forced to convert to other religions and forcefully married”.

This happens because laws to protect Hindu girls do not exist in Pakistan, he contended.

Protesters who attended the recent wedding shouted slogans and urged President Asif Ali Zardari to issue an ordinance for registering Hindu marriages until a law is enacted.  One of the protestors, Sapna Devi, said she had been married for 17 years but had no legal evidence of the union.

“God forbid, if he (husband) passes away, I will be unable to claim his property,” she explained.

Mukesh and Padma said that though their wedding may have seemed strange because it was performed in an unusual manner, it marked the beginning of their new life.

The purpose of getting married in this way was to show the world that Hindus were deprived of a basic right, they said.  Referring to the 1998 census, Mal said scheduled caste Hindus, who led the protest, comprise more than one-third of the 3.4 million Hindus in Pakistan. He said parliament has eight minority lawmakers to represent the Hindus but their fight for a marriage registration law was yet to produce results.




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