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Deep ideological roots of anti-Hindu sentiment in Pakistan: Report

ANI | Updated: Aug 10, 2021 11:14 IST

Islamabad [Pakistan], August 10 (ANI): Religious minorities in Pakistan are victimized through Islamist persecution -- from forced conversions to desecration of worship places. However, the South Asian country's anti-Hindu bigotry remains uniquely institutionalized.
Last week, a mob comprising over a dozen men armed with sticks vandalized a Hindu temple in village Bhong in Punjab province, shouting slogans and desecrating idols in the place of worship.
Despite widespread condemnation of the temple attack, several party members and even cabinet ministers of the Imran Khan government have expressed vile anti-Hindu bigotry or rallied in support of punishments for "blasphemers."
Writing for The Diplomat, Kunwar Khuldune Shahid stated that the mob violence in Bhong put on display the deep ideological roots of anti-Hindu sentiment in Pakistan.
"First is the surface level utility of Pakistan's blasphemy law, which has seen dozens killed, hundreds of worship places demolished, and thousands of victims imprisoned, injured, or expelled. The law facilitates Islamist mob violence by establishing offended Islamic sentiments as sufficient grounds for death," Shahid said.
The writer stated that violent Islamic supremacism isn't wielded by Islamists or opportunistic politicians but is sanctioned by the constitution.
"And yet the state paradoxically tries to simultaneously be a democratic republic. This, in turn, results in the Pakistani state -- unlike undiluted theocracies like Saudi Arabia or Iran -- handing over the proverbial hammer to Islamist mobs and encouraging them to see 'blasphemous' or 'anti-Islam' nails everywhere."
According to the think tank Center of Political and Foreign Affairs (CPFA), there is a majoritarian outlook in Pakistan dominated by Islam, belonging to the Sunni denomination.
Mario de Gasperi, in his CPFA report, argued that Pakistan has descended to its current state of religious intolerance through a series of political decisions made by its leaders, after the death of its founding father Mohammad Ali Jinnah.
Apart from the Hindu community, discrimination against the Christian community is deeply rooted in Pakistan.
According to the CPFA report, blasphemy laws in Pakistan continue to be a source of suffering for minorities. "A false accusation can be a punishment in itself, since a number of cases have provoked brutal mob violence against the accused and their families."
The think tank further stated that for the past several decades, the Pakistani authorities have incessantly failed to effectively protect minorities from faith-based violence. (ANI)