Pakistani Hindus demand religious freedom

A 50-member delegation demanded to grant them their fundamental rights

Lahore: The minority Hindu community in Pakistan has asked the government to ensure religious freedom, protection of lives and properties and grant them their fundamental rights.

A 50-member delegation made the demands while celebrating "Holi" organised by the South Asia Partnership-Pakistan here yesterday.
"Among the major problems we are facing despite being the citizens of Pakistan since birth are the registration of marriages because no family laws are available for us," said
Kanwal Kishor, a delegate member from Punjab province.
"Our elders struggled for establishing Pakistan, but we are not even regarded as third grade citizens. We are discriminated in every field, including education," she said.
Kishor said nothing about the Hindu community and their religion have been included in school syllabus despite the fact that Hindus are the largest religious minority in Pakistan. "Our children also get education from schools but nothing about inter-faith harmony is taught to all children."
She said there were eight reserved seats for minorities in Punjab Assembly and out of them only one seat is reserved for Hindus despite the fact that Hindus are the major religious minority group in Punjab, a province of 90-million.
Another delegate Pandit Channa Lal from Rawalpindi said in case any Hindu child up to the age of 12 years dies, he or she is buried but unfortunately there is no graveyard.
He demanded that the burial place should be allocated to them besides residential plots and houses.
"There is no respect for our places of worship and it can be gauged from this reality that a temple in Saidpur Village (Islamabad) is changed into a hotel by authorities," he said.
Other delegates complained about some government departments seizing their religious places and agricultural
They cited an example of a temple in Rahim Yar Khan, some 400 km from Lahore, that was allotted to someone through fake auction.
They said they are afraid of worshipping and even celebrating Holi publicly, particularly after a recent incident at Larkana district in Sindh province.
On March 15, a frenzied mob had set on fire a temple and a 'Dharamshala' in Larkana over alleged desecration of a holy book.
Hindus are the largest minority in Pakistan but make up only about two per cent of the country's 180 million population.
( Source : PTI )
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