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Pakistan Government likely to spend Money on Protection of Hindu Temples

Inter-faith harmony can only be achieved through inter-faith relationship. We should have interactions to understand each others point of views- Paul Bhatti

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Picture of Katasraj temple in punjab, Pakistan. Wikimedia
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October 23, 2016: Hindus form the largest minority group of Pakistan with a population of about 7 million. But many times we hear news of forced conversion of Hindu girls, the acts of vandalism against Hindu temples.

In 2014, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif approved the formation of a National Commission on Minorities to promote religious harmony in the country. The Pakistan Hindu Council had proposed that an active committee should be established at the federal level to prevent these violent incidents against the minorities.

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A 400 million project is set to be launched in Pakistan’s Sindh province to protect Hindu temples, churches and gurudwaras against the constant arson attacks, the media reported on Friday according to IANS.

According to a report by IANS, the government has Pakistan is all set to launch a 400 million project in Pakistan’s Sindh province for the protection of Hindu temples, gurudwaras and churches.

Special assistant to Chief Minister of Sindh, Khatumal Jeewan, said, “This project will greatly enhance the level of security at places of worship. The project involves setting up a modern surveillance and monitoring system at each place of worship using multiple video cameras installed at strategic locations around it.”

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The project will mainly spend the amount on the purchase of surveillance cameras that will be installed at the holy places of Sindh.

The project was in line after continuous attacks on Hindu temples in Pakistan. On Mrach 15, 2014, a Hindu temple was desecrated and set on fire by unidentified persons in Larkana. Few days later on 28th, another Hindu temple was attacked by arsons in Hyderabad, Sindh. These attacks were done to fan flames of riots in Sindh.

According to a report by Sindh Police, there are 1,253 places of worship belonging to the minorities of Pakistan including Hindus, Sikhs and Christians. There are 703 Hindu temples, 6 gurudwaras and 523 churches. 21 of such places of worship belong to the Ahmadi community. All these places will be getting massive security enhancement. Nearly 2,310 policemen have been deputed to guard these holy places.

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The Pakistani statue books have laws that have been laid down for the desecration of religious places. But the enforcement depends on the community and their will to make these laws work. One can only hope for the ceasing of the attacks on Hindu temples and other acts of intolerance against the minorities in Pakistan. Only time will tell if these hopes are fulfilled or not.

Prepared by Diksha Arya of NewsGram. Twitter: @diksha_arya53

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American Friends of Balochistan welcomes Trump’s Tough stand on Pak

The American Friends of Balochistan (AFB) issued a statement Monday welcoming Donald Trump's stand on US-Pakistan relations, calling it a vindication of its own stand.

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The President also called for more mental institutions and hospitals in addition to the idea of arming teachers.
The President also called for more mental institutions and hospitals in addition to the idea of arming teachers. Wikimedia Commons

Washington, D.C.– The American Friends of Balochistan (AFB) Executive Committee issued a statement Monday welcoming the President’s stand on US-Pakistan relations, calling it a vindication of its own stand.

The AFB said President Donald J. Trump has called out Pakistan’s constant bluffs with the US and pointed out a big chunk of American assistance was used against people of Balochistan in a secret, dirty war instead of the Taliban.

Khwaja Wali Kirani in Balochistan. Wikimedia Commons

“The United States has foolishly given Pakistan more than 33 billion dollars in aid over the last 15 years, and they have given us nothing but lies & deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools. They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!,” President Trump first tweet of 2018 reads.

The tweet was loved by nearly quarter-million Americans and retweeted 83,000 times in less than 24 hours.

The AFB executive committee said the US remains Pakistan’s top foreign aid donor, in addition to the money paid in expectation of cooperation in the Global War on Terror. Yet, for many years now, serving officers in the US Armed Forces have repeatedly spoken out about Pakistan’s perfidy in Afghanistan, which has cost the US lives, money and strategic credibility in the world’s eyes. Pakistan also remains a training ground for terrorism and a prime proliferator of nuclear weapons technology.

No country’s development and democracy have suffered more from Pakistan’s interference via state-sponsored terrorism than Afghanistan. US efforts to help the Afghans rebuild their nation are constantly sabotaged by reeling instability. India is another well-known target.

The AFB said Balochistan is a region rich in natural gas. It that has seen several bloody cycles of insurgency ever since Pakistan forcibly annexed the autonomous Baloch state of Kalat in 1948 in violation of a Standstill Agreement. A portion of historical Balochistan also sits on the other side of Pakistan’s border with Iran. Further, it borders Afghanistan to the north-west. Pakistan’s brutal record in this strategically located province that forms the northern lip of the key Straits of Hormuz has spiked in recent years.

“People of Balochistan tried their very best to work with Pakistan’s false promises of integration after forceful accession, but instead gave genocide to Balochs,” said the statement.

The AFB monitors the situation in Balochistan closely and is in touch with freedom and democracy activists on the ground. The AFB reiterated their call to the Pakistani government to cease violating the physical security of Baloch people, their freedom of expression, and end the policy of economic exploitation and genocidal violence.

A slow-motion genocide in Balochistan has claimed the lives of 35,000 Baloch people, 6,000 of whom were buried in mass graves while 21,000 are Victims of Enforced Disappearances, according to the Voice for Baloch Missing Persons. “The enforced disappearances situation in Balochistan is no different than what it used to be in Chile and Argentine in the 1970s and 1980s,” the AFB executive committee noted.

The AFB executive committee chimed in with similar sentiments expressed by policy experts in academe, veteran politicians, diplomats, intelligence chiefs, and human rights activists. Among them were former Afghan President Hamid Karzai, leading South Asia expert and former Pakistani ambassador Hussain Haqqani, several Baloch freedom and human rights activists cutting across party lines, former head of Afghanistan’s Directorate of Security Amrullah Saleh, and even normally fierce critics of President Trump’s administration such as Prof. Christine Fair, Provost’s Distinguished Associate Professor Georgetown University’s Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service.

The AFB executive committee consists of Jane Eastwood Weisner, Najeeb Khan, Krishna Gudipati, Soumya Chowdhury and Habiba Ashna. The organization was founded by veteran Baloch journalist Ahmar Mustikhan, who is the president.

Hope and doubt have been expressed on whether the US president’s tweet and words will translate into actionable legislation. Mustikhan published a survey of some of these thoughts in an article titled “Wave of joy sweeps across Afghanistan, Balochistan & India over Trump’s first tweet of 2018”.