Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday took to Twitter to wish the Pakistani Hindu community a “very happy holi”.
Khan, who tested positive for COVID-19 disease last week, extended his greetings to the Hindu community on Holi, a festival of colours celebrated across the Indian subcontinent. The festival is being celebrated in Pakistan on Sunday and Monday.
“Wishing all our Hindu community a very happy Holi, the festival of colours,” the prime minister tweeted.
Pakistan PM Imran Khan’s wishes to Hindus on the occasion of Holi, however, came at a time when there has been an increase in the targeted religious persecutions against Hindus by Islamists in Pakistan. Hindus, who form a minuscule population in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, have been victims of state-sponsored atrocities, who are often abducted, raped and forcefully converted into Islam.
Sindh at one time had a Hindu majority, however, rampant religious conversion by Islamists has led to a decrease in the proportion of Hindus. The Hindu population of Sindh have either fled their homeland or converted to Islam.
After the partition in 1947, Hindus in Pakistan were close to 14 per cent of the total population of Pakistan. However, today they have been reduced to less than 3 per cent of the total population in Pakistan. Today, there are only about 75 lakh Hindus in Pakistan who are fighting every day to save their honour. The decline is mainly due to the increasing Islamisation of Pakistan, which has resulted in the targeted persecution of non-Muslims living in the country.
It is rather ironic that Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan is wishing the very same set of people on the occasion of Holi, who are being persecuted on a daily basis by Islamists in his country.
Religious persecution of Hindus in Pakistan
Pakistan is notoriously known for its persecution of religious minorities, especially Hindus living in the country. The forceful conversion programs have often been unleashed against the minorities Hindus, Christians, and Sikhs living in Pakistan with utmost brutality. There have been many such cases reported in the recent past.
Pakistan has a history of atrocities against the minority community. Women are raped at an alarming frequency, forcibly converted to Islam and life is made hell for them. Due to the continuous atrocities, many poor Hindus of Pakistan have been left with no choice but to accept Islam. According to reports, many Hindus have become Muslims in hope that they will get money and dignity to survive in the Islamic state of Pakistan.
In the wake of such incidents, the United States Of America officially launched a 27-nation International Religious Freedom Alliance in February 2020, which will try to protect and preserve religious freedom across the world. During the launch, the USA especially highlighted the plight of Hindus in Pakistan.
Recently, a report released by the Members of the European Parliament (MEP) threw light on the plight of religious minorities in Pakistan. The report claims that around 1000 girls from Hindus are forcibly converted to Islam every year. The numbers might be higher as many cases are not even reported.