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Om Sweet Om

If you have any interest in minority human rights in Pakistan and have the patience to sit through 30 minutes of mayhem, this news segment on Hindus in Pakistan is worth a watch: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=06cUS2IcN7I&feature=share.

As most of us who stay abreast of the situation in Pakistan know, Hindus and other minorities face serious human rights violations in the country.  Hindus are routinely attacked and harassed, homes and temples are looted and desecrated, and young girls are kidnapped, forcibly married off to Muslim men, and converted to Islam.  Reports of Pakistani Hindus fleeing to India are becoming increasingly commonplace in the news these days.

Yet, Pakistani politicians, at least the ones on this segment, still have the gall to openly and completely deny that any problem exists at all.  The strategy of denial is seemingly twofold on this broadcast.  The first tactic is to depict these as isolated and “sporadic incidents” that can happen anywhere in the world, not just Pakistan.  Here, I give credit to the anchor who is able to cite case after case of kidnappings that have recently taken place in Pakistan, thus effectively demonstrating the problem on the ground is greater than “sporadic.”

Once the first tactic is rebuffed, the second tactic is to not address the problem in Pakistan at all, but rather point the finger at India and the supposed plight of its Muslims.  Granted, there has been communal violence in India.  But to compare the situation of Indian Muslims, who, by the way, receive a government subsidy to make the Hajj pilgrimage, have separate civil laws permitting practice of religious and cultural customs, and benefit from state government reservations, to the situation of Pakistani Hindus, who can’t even legally marry under Pakistani laws or find justice in the country’s highest court (see the tragic case of Rinkel Kumari), is both laughable and ludicrous.

But I must say the best line comes almost 25 minutes into the segment when the anchor asks Mr. Naeem ul Haq, representing the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party, to explain the exponential decline of the Hindu population in Pakistan from approximately 15% during the time of partition to about 2% today.  Mr. ul Haq’s response: “I guess Hindus are better at family planning than Muslims.”  Even the anchor couldn’t hold back a guffaw at the stupidity of that remark.

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