Religious minorities experiencing genocide in Pakistan: Scholar

By: | Published: February 28, 2017 3:49 PM

Pakistan is experiencing "drip drip genocide", a noted scholar from the country has said, describing it as the "most dangerous" kind of wiping out of religious minorities in the Islamic nation.

Noted Pakistani author, journalist and politician Farahnaz Ispahani (Reuters)

Pakistan is experiencing “drip drip genocide”, a noted scholar from the country has said, describing it as the “most dangerous” kind of wiping out of religious minorities in the Islamic nation.

“Right before the partition of India and Pakistan, we had a very healthy balance of religions other than Islam. Hindus, Sikhs, Christians, Zoroastrians. (Now) Pakistan goes from 23 per cent, which is almost a quarter of its population, to three per cent today,” noted Pakistani author, journalist and politician Farahnaz Ispahani told PTI.

“I call it a ‘drip drip genocide’, because it’s the most dangerous kind of wiping out of religious communities,” said Ispahani, whose book ‘Purifying the Land of the Pure’ was launched in the US this month.

“It (genocide) doesn’t happen in one day. It doesn’t happen over a few months. Little by little by little, laws and institutions and bureaucracies and penal codes, textbooks that malign other communities, until you come to the point of having this sort of jihadi culture that is running rampant,” she said.

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Describing Pakistan’s journey as “depressing,” Ispahani said that the country she grew up in does not exist today.

Responding to a question on the recent global trend against religious minorities, the top Pakistani scholar said it is shocking that today, countries like the US, which were known as the bastions of liberal democratic intuitions and values towards religious minority populations are now turning into places of hate.

“Whether it is towards refugees, whether it’s towards Jews who’ve been settled in France for centuries, Jews who’ve been settled in the United States for generations. It’s Muslims, it’s Jews, it’s Christians, but the whole world seems to be changing in a very ugly way,” she said.

“One of the reasons I wrote my book was as a heeding that the example of Pakistan is an example the whole world needs to watch. The example of India, of course, is different, because the Indian constitution actually uses the word secular.

“Even though right now there’s a tussle in India between two different weaves of the society, I would say, till today the laws still say that all Indians are equal citizens, which is still also the fact in the United States of America,” Ispahani said.

She said that some of the recent moves like Hindu Marriage Bill or declaring Diwali as a holiday is merely an eye wash as there is no concrete move from the government of the day to address the concerns of the religious minorities in Pakistan.

“It’s wonderful if the Prime Minister celebrates Christmas or Diwali, but why did his party give tickets for known sectarian murderers? There have been articles on this. There have been books on this. This is not me saying it,” she noted.

“This is my feeling, that until and unless Pakistanis themselves get up and reject, reject the hatred of the other and start understanding that people who are not of their faith are equal citizens of Pakistan, till those bills, till the Ahmadis, until all of the other minorities are not publicly and constitutionally allowed to reassert themselves as equal citizens of Pakistan, I think of all of this as eyewash and window dressing,” she said.

Ispahani said that the United States has “chosen to ignore” the human dimension in Pakistan over and over again because of its strategic and military importance.

“Unfortunately, no matter what Pakistan’s neighbours say, no matter what critics of the state of Pakistan say, the United States till this day has never stood by the people of Pakistan.

“They only stand by the state of Pakistan,” she said.

“President (Donald) Trump sounds like he is a tough man, and I sincerely hope and believe that he will take the right path,” said the top Pakistani scholar who now spend her time in the US.

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