Hindus in Pakistan

Projects and campaigns covering the plight and persecution of Hindus in Pakistan.

Silent Vigil

Nationwide silent vigil at 40 places across the UK

On 2nd October, the international non-violence day, INSIGHT UK organised a nationwide vigil across 40 places in the UK with an appeal to stop violence against Hindus and other minorities in Pakistan.

Silent vigil held across 40 places around the UK
Silent vigil held across 40 places around the UK

The situation of Hindus and other minorities in Pakistan is becoming increasingly dire. They face regular violence, kidnappings, forceful religious conversion, attacks on businesses and religious places and persecution.

It is reported that each year more than 1,000 minor Hindu girls are abducted, forced to convert, married to people twice or thrice of their age or pushed into the sex trade, never to be seen by their family again. Some seminaries teach that forcibly converting Hindu girls is equivalent to the greatest religious duty. Minorities in Pakistan face the constant threat of blasphemy laws.

Islamic law introduced in 1977 imposes regulations and constitutional injunctions that deny equal protection and religious freedom to non-Muslims. Additionally, the Pakistani Constitution states that only a Muslim can be the president of the country and that all high officers must take the oath of office by invoking an Islamic prayer, regardless of their religion. In the last 2 years alone there have been 7 attacks against Hindu places of worship. The latest one happened on August 4, 2021. The Hindu temple in Bhong City in Rahim Yar Khan district of Punjab province was destroyed by a mob.

More details: https://insightuk.org/pakistani-hindus

Silent Vigil

The latest State Department report on International Religious Freedom 2020 depicts a very precarious situation for minorities in Pakistan. At the time of independence in 1947, Pakistan had a minority population of about 31%. Of these 24%, i.e.⅔ or 7.5 million of the minority population were Hindus. In 75 years, the minority population has dwindled to 4% of which Hindus form merely 1.6% i.e.2.5 million. Pakistan’s State-sponsored genocide, pogroms and torture instituted and engineered by the state apparatus resulted in this precipitous decline. Many Hindus in Pakistan continue to flee to India to protect their human rights and dignity.

Below are some ongoing examples of media coverage on the topic:

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/pakistan-girls-forced-conversion-islam-b1779492.html

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/stories-56337182

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/dec/30/mob-tears-down-hindu-temple-and-torch-holy-shrine-in-pakistan

British Hindus across the United Kingdom gathered today to highlight the helpless condition of these minorities in Pakistan and particularly the minor girls in Pakistan. After the vigil, the community members petitioned their local MPs to take up this humanitarian issue with the Minister for South Asia and the Commonwealth and ask for below:

  1. The UK Govt should raise these concerns with the Pakistan Government to protect the minorities and safeguard their human rights. 
  2. The UK Govt should take up this matter with the Indian Government to ensure that the citizenship application of the minorities from Pakistan who have taken refuge in India should be expedited.

Some of the locations included Edinburgh, Leeds, York, Manchester, Warrington, Bolton, Liverpool, Cambridge, Milton Keynes, London, Nottingham, Leicester, Derby, Rugby, Sheffield, West Bromwich, Bristol, Swindon, Salisbury, Cheltenham, Swansea, Reading, Slough, Basingstoke, and Cardiff.

Protest against the persecution of Hindu in Pakistan

Protest at the High Commission for Pakistan in London

The Hindu community in the UK has been continuously shocked by the persecution of Hindus in Pakistan and has started lobbying the British government to ensure the safety and basic human rights of Pakistani Hindus.

Protest against the persecution of Hindu in Pakistan
Protest against the persecution of Hindu in Pakistan

The recent incident of arresting an eight-year-old Hindu boy under blasphemy laws shocked the whole world. It meant that this eight-year-old Hindu boy could face execution. Although these outrageous charges are dropped by the Prime Minister of Pakistan after global uproar, the boy and his family are believed to be in police custody due to threats issued by Islamist extremists in Pakistan. Around 200 Hindu families in the same town of the boy were threatened to leave their houses overnight are yet to return.

This has shaken up the British Hindus further and a peaceful protest outside the Pakistani embassy was organised on Sunday 15th August 2021 which was attended by around 500 people. Multiple Hindu organisations, including INSIGHT UK, a social movement for British Hindus and Indians, mobilised to organise the protest.

Since partition in 1947, the minority Hindu community in Pakistan has been treated like second-class citizens and suffered decades of persecution. Over 5,000 Hindus leave Pakistan for India each year to escape. An estimated 1,000 Hindu girls are abducted and forcefully converted to Islam each year, married off to their abductors who are often old enough to be their fathers. There were over 400 temples in Pakistan just 40 years ago, now there are just 20, the rest having been destroyed. The Hindu population in Pakistan is believed to be 2.14% in 2017 which shows a sharp decline from approximately 22% in 1947.

The trigger which prompted this protest was an eight-year-old boy who had unknowingly wandered into a Madrassah (Muslim place of learning). He was threateningly confronted by a man, and in his fear, he urinated. The Pakistani police believed this was a ‘crime’ and the boy was arrested for blasphemy, put in prison, with no contact with his family. Blasphemy carries the death penalty in Pakistan. Even more disturbingly, vigilante crowds often don’t wait for legal justice and take the law into their hands, lynching the alleged ‘criminals’. On this occasion after hearing of the alleged blasphemous incident, the crowd of local Muslims destroyed a temple in the same district, damaging the building and the Murtis (Hindu religious holy shrines) situated within.

The protest was a huge success and with just a few days to plan, around 500 people attended to raise their voices. Educational speeches were given expressing the plight of the Pakistani Hindus, slogans of peace were chanted, and signs were held. This peaceful protest was live-streamed via many social media channels. We hope wider awareness was raised to the general public about what is happening in Pakistan, and although the protest was a success, this is just the start. We cannot rest whilst the innocent Hindus of Pakistan are attacked, raped, and forcefully converted, all under the watch of the Pakistani and British governments. Their voices will be heard.

INSIGHT UK will be launching a series of events on this matter including an awareness campaign for the Members of UK Parliament (MPs) soon.

Protest against the persecution of Hindu in Pakistan
Protest against the persecution of Hindu in Pakistan
Plight of Hindu in Pakistan

Plight of Hindus in Pakistan

INSIGHT UK is raising awareness of the denial of human rights and religious freedoms of the Hindus in Pakistan. The country which is not only breeding terrorists, but is also abusing its minorities and brutalising them in myriad ways. Forcible conversion of minorities or driving them out of their ancestral homes, can be gauged from the fact that the non-Muslim minorities have declined from 23% at the time of partition in 1947 to barely 4% now.

Plight of Hindu in Pakistan
Plight of Hindu in Pakistan

In the last 2 years alone there have been 7 attacks against Hindu places of worship. The latest one happened on August 4, 2021 and we wish to bring this to your attention and request you to raise your voice against the brutal and inhuman Pakistan government. The Hindu temple in Bhong City in Rahim Yar Khan district of Punjab province was destroyed by a mob.

Here is a list of desecrations and destruction of Hindu temples from the recent past.

  1. A 100 year old Hindu temple in Rawalpindi, the capital of Pakistan was attacked and property destroyed.
  2. In June 2020, the construction of a Hindu temple in Islamabad was stopped. Though the permission had been granted by the Islamabad Capital Development Authority, there were objections and lawsuits to stop the construction.
  3. A pre-partition Hindu temple in Karachi was demolished in August 2020 by a builder and the police sealed off the site, preventing access.
  4. The Hindu temple in Nagarparkar in Sindh province was vandalized and idols damaged in October 2020.
  5. The Hindu temple in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa was set on fire and destroyed by a mob following hate speech in December 2020. This temple which was built in 1919, was the target of an attack in 1997 as well.
  6. In January 2020, the Hindu temple in Chhachro City of Sindh province was attacked and idols were broken.
  7. In the same month, the Nankana Sahib Gurudwara, the place of worship of Sikhs, was pelted with stones.

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” – Edmund Burke. That’s why it is absolutely imperative, both as a great human being and as a politician, raising your voice is essential to protect the voiceless in a land of barbarity. The laundry list of brutal, inhuman, often criminal behaviour of the people, the police, and the politicians of Pakistan is long and heart breaking. We present to you a tiny bit of this sordid list.

The Pakistan government is guilty of violating international covenants that it has voluntarily signed. Pakistan has signed the United Nations’ International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Pakistan has also signed other covenants of the UN including respecting women’s rights and children’s rights. These are very important covenants as Pakistan has violated the rights of women and female children particularly.

In essence, we want to stress the following for your immediate action and support.

1. Minorities are in constant danger: Rape, abduction, forced conversion and even murder are frequent occurrences. Policemen refuse to take action against perpetrators of atrocities or worse still, become participants in the crime.

2. Non-Muslim minorities – Hindus, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, Zoroastrians face denial of equal rights. Hindus being the largest minority group, face most of the attacks.
Muslim minorities include Shia, Hazara, Ahmadis, Ismaili, and Bohra (a branch of Ismaili) account for 15-20% of the population but the numbers are not very clear. The Pakistan constitution does not recognize Ahmadis as Muslims and the Ahmadis face as much danger as non-Muslim minorities.

3. The Pakistan government is in denial most of the time, and at times due to international pressure, launches an investigation that eventually blames the victims. With a small population often facing violent mobs, the minorities do not have any choice but to submit to the brutality of the marauding mobs. The feeble and often untruthful ‘investigations’ do not produce any tangible results. So, asking the Pakistan government to take action and depending on them to protect the minorities is never going to work, unless there is international pressure and human rights watch is monitoring the situation and promised actions.

4. Judiciary in Pakistan is in collusion with the perpetrators of crimes as most often the accused have been released for ‘lack of evidence’ or by quoting Islamic Law or because the minorities ‘agreed to pardon the perpetrators’. The country’s draconian blasphemy laws are being foisted on innocent people, for imaginary offences. Even the judiciary is complicit in this crime by accepting that the minorities have ‘pardoned the perpetrators’, refusing to recognize the fact that the ‘pardon’ is also obtained by coercion.

Plight of Hindu in Pakistan

5. There were 400+ Hindu temples in the Sindh region of Pakistan at the time of partition in 1947. Now, there are barely 20, with the rest of the temples either having been demolished and desecrated or converted into mosques. The Evacuee Trust Property Board of Pakistan should have a Hindu or Sikh as its head as per the Liaqat Ali – Nehru Pact. But today, all 6 official members of the Board are Muslims and of the 18 non-official members only 8 are Hindus and Sikhs.

The Evacuee Trust Property Board has been criticised for leasing sacred Hindu temples. The board rented out the historic Kali Bari Hindu Temple to a Muslim in Dera Ismail Khan in 2014 and the temple is being converted and used as the Taj Mahal Hotel. Frontier Constabulary officials, with the help of the board, have occupied the Shamshan Ghaat in Dera Ismail Khan and the Hindu community is unable to cremate their dead because of the unavailability of Shamshan Ghaat and is forced to bury them in a graveyard shared by members of other faiths. As per Hindu custom, the body should be cremated and not buried. Hindus are being denied their due even after their death.

6. Menial jobs are reserved for minorities, while claiming that Islam treats everyone equally. In most of Pakistan the menial jobs are primarily reserved for Christians. The menial jobs are mostly removing solid waste and sweeping the roads and public places, often at below minimum wages.

7. Even well-known people are no exception to these attacks. The only Hindu ever to play cricket for Pakistan has spoken out about the degrading treatment he received from his team mates. This has also been confirmed by one of his Muslim team mates. The Muslim player has come under attack for supporting the Hindu player’s allegations.

8. Activists of all kinds – Hindus, Christians, Baloch activists are in constant fear of murder, even if they leave Pakistan. Two Baloch activists have been found dead in a river and lake following several death threats – one in Sweden and another in Canada. A third activist, who was calling attention to the plight of Christians in Pakistan was attacked with a knife and suffered serious injuries in South Korea. The ISI has been the suspect in all these cases.

9. In 2010, after a delay of 44 and 24 years respectively, Pakistan signed and ratified two key international treaties of United Nations – namely the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the Convention Against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment (CAT). However, the people of the country do not have recourse to any law. The UN is a spectator to the ugly spectacle of spiralling religious intolerance, government inaction, and judicial collusion in Pakistan.

It is with deep trepidation at what is in store for the remaining minorities in Pakistan. Please support INSIGHT UK by raising awareness and participating in our campaigns to help the minorities in Pakistan before it’s too late. We thank you in advance for your support and help