“You are free, you are free to go to your Mosques, you are free to go to your temples, and any other place or worship. Your religion or faith has nothing to do with the business of the State” these words were mentioned by none other than the founder of Pakistan Muhammad Ali Jinnah.
The goal of the founder was simple; as one can understand from his statement. He wished and succeeded to create a separate homeland for the Muslims of the Sub-continent or back then British India. Interfaith harmony in Pakistan saw many successful years during the inception of Pakistan.
However, slowly Pakistan started to loose its secular fabric. There are plenty of factors involved behind it, and no “one” particular can be blamed for the reason. Some observers say it was the Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto’s policies and rhetoric that led to the downfall, and some say it was the Islamization introduced by President Zia ul Haq.
It is true to some reasoning, however, what many forget to understand is the Islamization of Iran also had serious consequences for Pakistan, the Afghan-Soviet war, the migration of Afghan refugees, and most important of all the civil society of Pakistan’s silence over the issue has led to things in the downfall. How many times do the crimes inflicted on the Hindu community makes it to the mainstream media? Almost none.
Recently 14 Hindus of Pakistan migrated to India and had to come back due to a lack of opportunities offered by the country. While India remains one of the greatest critics of Pakistan’s minority and their issues, however when it comes to supporting them, there is always a damning silence, as one can understand from this case.
Since the issue involved India’s non-cooperation, the issue gained the attention of Pakistani civil society. Many Journalists and Blogs reported the issue. However, many have failed to ask the real issue and that is: why did they [Hindus] migrate to India in the first place? And, no it is not India’s responsibility to support Pakistani citizens.
There is nothing wrong with the Question but the problem comes with the answer, and the simple answer is the Hindus [or minority members] are not receiving the treatment they should be. Period.
I interviewed one of the Hindu faith follower friend, and his reply was simple: there are plenty of factors through which we [Hindus] face trouble. Their factors are largely due to anti-India rhetoric leading Pakistanis to hate “all Hindus” or looking them with suspicion, poverty, lawlessness, internal Pro-Taliban movement, and damning silence of fellow Pakistanis.
The love of Pakistani Hindus cannot and should not be forgotten. Since the inception of Pakistan, they have played an important role and answered every call Pakistan called. The most recent example is Pakistan’s war on terror, where Two Hindu soldiers gave their life against the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan.
Many outside Pakistan do not know how crucial the war on terror was – in simplest terms, we Pakistanis were fighting for our survival. Thus, anyone who gave their life for the protection of the country will always receive gratitude from Pakistanis, and it’s justified in every manner.
What most forget is that this incident, how in-effective it is in its’ manner, should be understood and taken in the light of positive criticism, and we should ask the right question(s). At the end of the day, perfection can never be achieved but its a direction which slowly makes things and human being(s) better.