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Besides Christians, Pakistan’s Hindu community is another religious minority under fire from majority Muslim hardliners. Persecution of Hindus has reached such proportions in Pakistan that long-time Hindu residents are now leaving for India. They know the government will not, and probably can’t, protect them. As a result, Pakistan, meaning “Land of the Pure,” may soon become just that. A country purified of all other religions.
On top of religious discrimination, Pakistani Hindus are tired of the extortion, kidnappings, ransoms, as well as forced conversions and marriages to Muslims of their teenaged daughters after their abduction. One such unfortunate Hindu victim, only a teenager, gave a heartbreaking and tragic account in the English-language Pakistani newspaper Dawn of her kidnapping and forced marriage to a Muslim after being told her family would be harmed if she did not co-operate. She recognized her abductor. He was a Muslim guard at the Hindu temple.
But how can non-Muslim religious minorities in Pakistan expect protection and justice from authorities in this land of hatred when even non-Muslim minorities are not protected? The Ahmadis and Shiites are also targeted by Sunni extremists for death. Just recently, armed Sunni terrorists wearing army uniforms stopped a bus and after examining the passengers’ papers executed 20 people –all Shiites. In the past six months, two similar incidents involving the murder of bus-travelling Shiites have also occurred. These latest 20 victims now join the more than 1,000 Shiites murdered each year in Pakistan, some of them by the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, a terrorist group dedicated to killing Shiites.
Homicidal hatred is, however, not just the preserve of minority religious groups in Pakistan. In Karachi, deadly ethnic and political violence between Pakistan’s four main ethnic groups – Punjabs, Sindhs, Pashtuns and Mohajirs (Muslim immigrants from India who came to Pakistan at the time of the 1947 partition) – has been going on for several decades, making the city one of the most dangerous and violent in the world. Riots and killings have occurred with such frequency in Karachi that the police have sometimes lost control and the army has had to be called in to restore order.
And the Pakistani Taliban (TTP) also contributes to the country’s rising tide of chaos, violence and death by attacking anyone and anything opposing the establishment of an Islamist state. It was reported that last November alone saw 1,700 people killed in terrorist or insurgent attacks. And that was a good month. It seems that at least once a week Pakistani newspapers report a TTP suicide bomber slaughtering men, women and children, often indiscriminately and often in a mosque. Even more disturbing is that the bomber is often just a child recruited by the TTP death cult.
But at the top of the list of those who suffer the most in Pakistan’s hate-filled society are women. Besides having schools for girls blown up in the tribal areas, the prevailing misogyny subjects them to honor murders, forced marriages, marital violence, and mutilations and rapes as part of a family, clan or tribal revenge code. They are sometimes regarded as having such little worth that they are used as commodities to settle clan feuds and even gambling debts.
“It is near impossible to comprehend the level of hatred that rules the minds of those people who are terrorising Pakistan today,” a Dawn editorial reads.
And that, perhaps, sums up best the fragmented state of present-day Pakistani society, an unfeeling incubator of terror that contains little, if any, concept of humanity.
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