Government admits Hindu families' migration to India
04 February, 2013
LAHORE: The government has finally acknowledged reports that dozens of Hindu families have migrated to India, saying that they (Hindus) have left the country for a better future in the neighbouring state and there was no legal restriction on any minority member to avail such opportunity.
This was accepted by Adviser to Prime Minister on Minorities Affairs Dr Paul Bhatti during a press conference at the Lahore Press Club on Sunday. Two provincial assembly members, Tahir Naveed and Najmi Saleem, and other party members were also present with him. Dr Bhatti is not only a member of the ruling Pakistan People's Party (PPP) but also holds the post of the chairman of All Pakistan Minorities Alliance (APMA), a registered political party in the Election Commission of Pakistan.
In August 2012, our sources had reported that around 7,000 to 10,000 Pakistani Hindus left the country in the last two years because of feudalism, class system, religious discrimination, forced conversion, forced marriages and poor law and order situation in their areas. The minority feels society has become more insecure for their young girls and it is also scared after the court's decision in Rinkal Kumari's conversion case. Approximately 4.2 million Hindus, 3.9 million Christians, 16,000 Sikhs and thousands of other minorities' members, including Ahmedis, are living in Pakistan.
Taking notice of the reports, President Asif Ali Zardari constituted a parliamentary committee comprising Senator Maula Bux Chandio, MNA Lal Chand and Senator Hari Ram Kishori Lal to investigate the issues of Hindus, but the committee observed in its findings and report to the president that there was no mass migration of Hindus from the country.
Answering queries by journalists on the Hindu migration issue, Dr Bhatti accepting the fact said that around 50 Pakistani Hindu families have left for India for a better future, however, they were not satisfied with the conditions in the neighbouring country. He did not say that the Hindu migration was being caused by any injustice with them in Pakistan, and clarified that there was no restriction on any member of the minority to move to the other country (India) if he sees a better future there.
Answering questions about the failure of the government to arrest murderers of his brother, ex-minister Shahbaz Bhatti and blasphemy laws, Dr Bhatti avoided direct comments and just said that his brother was not killed by one man but a mindset working behind him, and there was a need to change that mindset. Speaking on the blasphemy laws issue, he condemned the western artists and media who were involved in making blasphemous caricatures of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), and said that it was his firm belief that no believer of Christ would attempt such a thing.
Dr Bhatti also said that Christians or other minorities have no problem with the blasphemy laws under Article 295 of the constitution of Pakistan, but they wanted to stop the misuse of these articles and sub-articles. About a query on Interior Minister Rehman Malik's remarks and comparison of Tahirul Qadri with the pope, the top religious and spiritual leader of Christians, Dr Bhatti said that the minister told him in person that he respects all religious figures of Christians. The prime minister's adviser also announced a legal cell from his newly registered party, APMA, to give legal aid to the minorities against any injustice with them.