KARACHI - The Sindh minister for minorities Wednesday rejected reports suggesting that Hindus from the province were migrating to India or seeking political asylum there because of the poor law and order situation in the province.
About the assertion that insecurity was the main reason of this reported exodus, the minister said that poor conditions of law and order equally affect all communities. He said it would be wrong to say that this problem was being faced exclusively by the Hindus.
About the issue of Hindus visiting India, the minister said it was a routine matter as the Hindus have been visiting India for pilgrimage and to meet their blood relatives there even before partition. The Hindus from Sindh, especially Jacobabad, Kashmore, Shikarpur, Larkana and Sukkur, go to India every year for Teerath Yatra.
According to Dr Mohan Lal, some people did not return to Pakistan and prefer to relocate to India permanently but such decisions are individual and it does not mean that everybody going there won’t come home.
Following the reports of Hindus’ ‘migration’ to India, President Asif Ali Zardari had formed a parliamentary committee under Federal Minister Moula Bux Chandio which after visiting different areas and meeting with Hindus’ representatives submitted its report.
The committee noted that Hindus did face some problems, insecurity being one of them. It proposed that FIRs should be registered whenever anybody came up with a complaint. The committee said that Hindus do go to India for pilgrimage but their visits should not be taken as migration.
When his attention was drawn to incidents of forced conversions, Dr Mohan Lal said the Hindus have grievances in this regard as police do not lodge the FIRs. President Zardari has already given instructions to the Sindh government to make it mandatory for the police to lodge FIRs of abductions within 24 hours and recover the abductees, he added.
Answering a question, the minister said if any case of conversion came to light, the girl involved must be kept at least for 21 days in Darul Aman, where only her parents should be allowed to meet her. He said at times courts do not provide opportunity to the Hindu girls to decide their future independently. He underlined the need for legislation to stop the forced conversions.