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PHC demands formation of committee to protect minorities

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Hindu Council (PHC) on Sunday in its urgent meeting demanded the establishment of an active and effective committee at federal level under the supervision of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to prevent atrocities against the minorities.
Patron-in-Chief of PHC and Member National Assembly (MNA) Dr Ramesh Kumar Vankwani said, “I went to the Supreme Court for sixteen times for the betterment of the bitter situation faced by the minorities but unfortunately nothing has changed yet despite the clear judgement of the top court as the Hindu girls in Sindh were compelled for forced marriages”.
He also demanded the formation of a committee to ensure the evolving of a violence-free society and to promote religious harmony among different communities residing in the country. He further said the suggestion was unanimously endorsed in the PHC meeting called by the executive body which also assigned him the task to contact other representative parties in this regard.
According to the details, the meeting was chaired by Chela Ram Kewlani to review increasing atrocities against minorities across the country. Condemnation of brutal killing of innocent Christian couple was exclusively added in agenda of the meeting. With regard to the recent kidnapping of Hindu citizens, particularly, of minor girl Anjali from Dherki; Kiran from Nawab Shah; and Jeoti from Hyderabad; the participants demanded from prime minister and provincial chief ministers to implement an effective and practical legislation to protect minorities’ rights, adding that interfaith harmony and Hindu Marriage Acts were need of the hour. PHC also proposed names for inclusion in the interfaith committee, including Pir Aminul-Hasnat Shah (State Minister for Religious Affairs), Maulana Shirani (JUI-F), Mir Hasil Bazanjo (BNP), Khawaja Sohail (MQM), Abdul-Qehar Khan Wadan (PMAP), Dr Ramesh Kumar Vankwani from Hindu community, Kamran Michael from Christian community, and at least one member from each religious party including Jamaat-e-Islami.
Chela Ram, while expressing his views, said that oppressed minorities saw a ray of hope with the Supreme Court orders to protect minorities’ rights but unfortunately state institutes had failed to implement the same by merely following their routine casual approach. He added that minorities are still as vulnerable as they were one and a half year ago; till today land mafia is active towards the occupation of religious places and the kidnapping of Hindu girls is still going on. He regretted that minorities were becoming hopeless with the current government too.
At this occasion, Dr Ramesh Kumar said that the Constitution of Pakistan guaranteed minorities’ rights. He urged that people should be made aware of Quaid- e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah’s speech delivered in Constitutional Assembly on August 11, 1947, where he clearly said that it was the first duty of the state to take care of the welfare of citizens and minorities’ rights should be protected without discrimination. He emphasised that Pakistan’s national poet Allama Iqbal was also in support of a welfare state.
Later, Dr Ramesh Kumar also briefed journalists about the proceedings of urgent meeting held at The Pakistan Hindu Council Secretariat. He said that the kidnapping of innocent Hindu girls, forced conversion and forcible marriages were barbaric issues faced by Hindu minority and it was mainly due to the absence of Hindu Marriage Registration Act. He regretted that the Sindh government had failed to address minorities’ issues, including protection of holy places of worship, cemeteries, illegal occupation, etc.
Kumar said that the misuse of the Blasphemy Laws to score personal enmities on larger scale had resulted into the harassment of minorities. Expressing grave concerns on the incident of burning alive a Christian couple, he said the incidence had created panic among minorities and increased the sense of insecurity prevailing among them. In this backdrop, the performance of state institutions has also become questionable at national and international level.
He also requested media, civil society stakeholders and common citizens to play their due role in developing a violence-free society. The meeting was attended by Vice President Hotchand Kirmani, General Secretary Dr Deepak, Gopal Das, Raja Assarmal, Bharat Kumar, Paman Lal and other Hindu representatives and advisers across the country.

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