LAHORE, Pakistan: The Civil Society Organizations have condemned attacks on places of worship and hate speech against minority religions, urging the federal and provincial governments to root out causes of hatred against minorities rather than the culmination.
In a joint statement issued on Thursday, the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) Peter Jacob Executive Director and the Peoples’ Commission for Minorities Rights (PCMR) Patron-in-Chief I A Rehman said, “We condemn the incidents of incitement of hatred and violence particularly the demolition of Krishna Dawara temple in Karak District of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa by a mob. Earlier, Shri Paramhans Swami Advaitanand Ji Maharaj, this temple built in tribute to a man famous for his spiritual preaching and service to humanity, was attacked in July 1919. A Hindu temple in Chachro in Tharparkar district was vandalized by unidentified individuals in January 2019. In February 2019, an attack on Hindu temple was reported in Khairpur, Sindh. In October 2020, a group of extremists attacked a temple in Nagarparkar, Another historic Hindu temple was demolished in Karachi on August 16. Therefore, these attacks, mostly involving land grabbers, form a patron in the Country.”
A dispute of illegal occupation of Krishna Dwara Mandir in Karak had surfaced several times, the Court passed an order in 2015 and the temple was restored on the orders of the Supreme Court of Pakistan. According to the residents, the police failed to intervene and arrived after several hours of the incident.
They said that the recent wave of extremism and incidents of attacks on worship places of minorities is in contradiction with the federal government’s pledge on April 10, 2019 to restore over 400 Hindu temples. The government had said that they were fulfilling the longstanding demand of the minority Hindus that their places of worship be restored to them.
Moreover, the ruling party had promised in the Election Manifesto 2018 saying “We will protect the civil, social and religious rights of minorities; their places of worship, property and institutions as laid down in the Constitution”.
Peter Jacob and I A Rehman said that among the huge list of promises, the most important one which still awaits the government’s attention is “ensuring equal justice and protecting minorities from violence, hate speech, and discrimination”.
While welcoming the Suo Motu Notice taken by the Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Gulzar Ahmed, the Civil Society Organizations said that we also regret the recent statement by the Foreign Office Spokesperson who rejected the allegations of forced conversions and termed the reported cases of violence against minority woman, factious and politically- motivated which is just another example of denial on the state’s part even after an extensive media coverage, research and reporting of cases.
The Civil Society Organizations urged the government to implement the Supreme Court’s order under June 19, 2014 judgment in order to curb incidence of violence against religious minorities, shrinking the space for religious freedom in the country and depriving them from the rights guaranteed in Articles 20 and 36 of the constitution to profess & practice religion and establish, maintain and manage religious institutions.