Date: 12/27/2005


+-----------------------------------------+ THE PIONEER EDITORIAL 9^TH DECEMBER 2005 //// Hindus in Pakistan//// The recent abduction and conversion of three Hindu girls in Pakistan clearly shows that , despite the isolated example of a Danish Kaneria for the country’s cricket team, Hindus there are a marginalized and persecuted lot stalked constantly by insecurity. The details are shocking. The three-Reena (21), Usha (19) and Rima (17) who lived in Karachi’s Punjab Colony along with their parents and two other siblings, went missing from October 18, 2005. As the local police station refused to lodge an FIR, they approached the Deputy Superintendent of Police. Clifton, who forced the Station House Officer to register a case. Accordingly an FIR was recorded on October 22 and three young men of the locality were mentioned as suspects. Almost immediately thereafter, the family began receiving threats and within days, it received, through courier service, three affidavits by the three girls stating that they had converted to Islam on their free will and wanted to live separately. They had been, according to the affidavits, renamed Ahsan, Anam and Nida and were living in a hostel of Madarsa Taleem-ul-Quran and were instructed by a local Moulvi. The affidavits were signed under duress became clear when the parents, Sanno and Champa Amra, finally managed to meet their abducted daughters following a court order on November 10 directing the police and the administration of the Madarsa to arrange a meeting. In the presence of a dour woman a moulvi and several cops, which most certainly prevented the girls from speaking their mind, the three, covered head to foot in burka, and with only their eyes visible, said in subdued voices that they wanted to stay where they were. The youngest girl’s eyes were bloodshot with crying. The unfolding of events has been recalled in some detail because it underlines two things. The first is the tragedy of three young girls, abducted, forcibly converted and made to live in the hostel of Madarsa-where no one knows what is being done to them away from their parents and siblings. The second is the reminder they provide of the continuing persecution of minorities- mainly Hindus, Christians and Ahmadiyyas-in Pakistan who live hunted and terrorized lives in the shadow of the threats of prosecution under blasphemy act which carries a death penalty desecration of their shrines, forcible conversions and physical violence. All civilized governments must pressure Pakistan to have the three girls restored to their parents punish their abductors and provide an environment in which the minorities can live in peace and honour. The government of India and the human rights organizations in this country, which have been hyper-active in defence of minority rights and condemnation of communal elements, have a bounden duty to take up the case of the three girls and minority rights with Parvez Musharraf’s regime- and in all international for a should it prove unresponsive. Silence and inaction on the ground that it is Pakistan’s internal matter and making an issue of it will have an adverse bearing on India Pakistan relations which are on the threshold of a stunning improvement, will not wash. If such considerations have not prevented Islamabad from trying to internationalize the totally spurious issue of human rights violations in Jammu & Kashmir, there is no reason why India’s United Progressive Alliance Government should not make a global issue of the case of the three girls and persecution of minorities in Pakistan.//// 000000000