But remember: if you take any notice of these ongoing human rights abuses, you’re a racist, bigoted hatemonger, to be shunned by all decent and right-thinking people. No one cares about Christians, Sikhs and Hindus being forced to flee areas where their families have lived for centuries. After all, it’s not a case of “Islamophobia,” now, is it? So why should anyone care?
“Terrorism forcing minorities to settle abroad,” by Shamim Shahid, Pakistan Today, April 27, 2014:
The ongoing terrorism has forced a large number of Christians, Sikhs and Hindus to settle abroad.
In recently held workshops and seminars in Peshawar, representatives of minorities have discussed the reasons behind increasing trends of exodus. It is ironic to mention that Christians are living in Landi Kotal area of Khyber Agency since 19th century, but they are not eligible for domicile certificate which is essential for admission in colleges. Likewise, due to lack of personal and family laws, Hindus and Sikhs are facing hardships in getting birth and death certificates and distribution of inherited property.
Haroon Sarabdiyal, a Hindu elder from Peshawar, said the Hindus were not trusted as true and patriotic Pakistanis and same goes for Sikhs. Atmosphere was once conducive for Christians, but they have also suffered a lot due to terrorism.
The South Asian Partnership (SAP) plays a key role in arranging of seminars, workshops and gatherings for creating inter-faith harmony. Soon after the Partition in 1947, thousands of Hindus abandoned property and houses and settled in India. Their property was occupied by others, but later the government established a trust for its protection and utilization. But the trust failed to help Hindus living across the country.
Giving details of such property, Sarabdiyal said that 133,000 acres of agriculture land of Hindus was estimated across the country. For the last several years, they are demanding the government to surrender the land to them but the latter has shown reluctance in this regard. He said that they made a plan for further utilisation of the land for the welfare of poor members of the community. He said that in 1947, there were 428 Hindu temples in Pakistan, but currently only 20 existed and the rest of them have been converted into commercial plazas, hotels and markets.
In Dera Ismail Khan, 700-year-old Kali Bari Temple is converted into a hotel. He alleged that different portions of the temple were being used for immoral acts, which they consider as an insult to their religious norms and beliefs. Similar is the status of Hindu temples in rest of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, especially in Peshawar, Nowshera, Mardan, Swabi, Bannu and Kohat.
He said that there is no Hindu temple in Peshawar, Nowshera and Kohat. Haroon along with members of Sikh and Christian communities are working to get their property back. They are also making efforts for restoration of temples and other worship places.