In 1951, Hindus were 22% of the Pakistani population (including East Pakistan, now Bangladesh). In 1997, the percentage of Hindus was 1.6% in Pakistan and 10.2% in Bangladesh. This drop in the Hindu population is because of Islamic hostility toward Hindus; in classic Islamic law, Hindus, not being “People of the Book,” must convert to Islam or be killed. After a fatwa granting them honorary “People of the Book” status, Hindus may continue to live as Hindus, but only insofar as they accept Muslim hegemony and denial of their basic rights as dhimmis. The Islamic Republic of Pakistan has not enforced traditional Islamic laws regarding dhimmis, but has turned a blind eye to Muslims making life miserable for Hindus in the country.
This conference is an attempt to deflect the harassment, violence and pressure to which Muslims subject Hindus in Pakistan. It is unlikely to work.
“Celebrating diversity: Hindus to hold conference for interfaith harmony,” Express Tribune, December 20, 2015:
PESHAWAR: Hindus in the city will arrange a conference on December 24 to pay respects to Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) to promote interfaith harmony.
“We cordially invite people from all religious backgrounds, members of civil societies and political party workers to commemorate the holy event,” All Pakistan Hindu Rights Movement Chairman Haroon Sarbdiyal told The Express Tribune on Saturday. “Through this conference, we will give a message to the world that Islam is a peaceful religion.”
Sarbdiyal added they want to promote mutual understanding among religions and strengthen humanity. “Religious extremism is not only an issue for minorities in Pakistan; it is a global issue and countries should revise their policies to clear perceptions that have been damaging the social fabric of the global society.” Representatives of various religious parties welcomed the initiative of the conference, saying interfaith harmony is the need of the hour.
While talking to The Express Tribune, Minister for Religious and Minorities Affairs Haji Habibur Rehman said their government will support activities on interfaith harmony. “Last month Christians also held an activity promoting interfaith harmony.”
“It is a good decision to organise the conference,” said Jamaat-e-Islami K-P leader Mushtaq Ahmad. “Worship places of minorities are protected in our country, particularly in K-P and freedom of expression is the basic right of everyone.”