Islamabad: Former Pakistan foreign minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri, who was in Mumbai for the launch of his book, said movie idol Dilip Kumar had visited Pakistan twice on secret missions for the Indian government.
“After Monday’s violent protests against my visit, I thought I should spend some time with our great apostles of peace,” Kasuri told Dawn on Tuesday.
“I met followers of Mahatma Gandhi at his Mani Bhavan former home. Gandhi’s indefinite fast to get Pakistan its monetary dues from India is not known in Pakistan. Then I visited the Jinnah House, and it broke my heart to see it in disuse and disrepair when it could have easily become Pakistan’s consulate in Mumbai.”
His meeting with Dilip Kumar was the highlight of his last day in Mumbai. “His wife Saira Banu told me that Dilip Saahab had been twice on secret missions to Pakistan. He was flown to Islamabad by the Indian government in special aircraft. I believe one of the visits took place during the Zia ul Haq period. The other was more recent.”
Due to the lack of cremation grounds, some Hindus and Sikhs travel hundreds of kilometres just to perform the last rites as per their religious practices
As per reports, there were about 12 cremation grounds before Independence
Unfortunately, Hindu’s and Sikh’s have to face the same problem in the neighbouring state as well, that is Afghanistan
Death is said to be a great leveller. But the tragedy struck to some section of society in Muslim-dominated Pakistan is altogether different.
Due to the lack of cremation grounds, some Hindus and Sikhs travel hundreds of kilometres just to perform the last rites as per their religious practices. People who can’t even afford to travel, they have no option but to bury the mortal remains of their near and dear ones.
As per reports, there were about 12 cremation grounds before Independence. But with the passage of time, they vanished in the thin air of the terror-torn nation. Even in areas lying in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, where about 35,000 Hindus and Sikhs live, the cremation grounds are also rare.
The law of the land is non-existent for the minorities communities like Hindu’s and Sikh’s. Without taking no-objection certificate, people from these communities can’t move an inch even. The grief-stricken families have to wait for the clearances, as they are left with no other option.
For Hindus in Pakistan, there is no cremation ground (Shamshan Ghat) in Peshawar. They have to travel 130 KM to cremate according to Hindu rituals. Hindus have been demanding for a crematorium, but to no avail:https://t.co/Ki2VW43I1l
People are forced to travel long distances to cremate their relatives from the areas like Swat Bannu, Kohat, Malakand etc. The cost to travel such long distances ranges from Rs 40,000 to Rs 70,000 and on the top of it, the fear of robbery during these travels cannot be ruled out. Not all the Hindu families can afford to perform the last rites in the manner they want.
Unfortunately, Hindu’s and Sikh’s have to face the same problem in the neighbouring state as well, that is Afghanistan. The minority communities are compelled to bury the dead because cremation grounds are vanishing fast in Pakistan.
Although, the administration of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has allowed the minorities communities to perform cremation near temples. But most of the temples are built on the agricultural lands and commercial areas, which have already been encroached upon by land mafia.
There are a lot of Hindu family residing in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and still, there are very few cremation grounds where their last rites can be performed in that area.
Although, Pakistan boats that the minority communities enjoy equal rights in their country, the ground reality seems to be completely different. Not having a crematorium in Peshawar is just one of the woes that the minority communities are facing since long.
After much of the protests, finally, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has started building the facility from the chief minister’s fund, as per some government sources.
There are almost 50,000 Sikhs and Hindus in Peshawar. And unfortunately, due to lack of proper facilities, people over there are also facing the same situation what others are facing in areas like Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
To expect some kind of generosity from the war-torn state like Pakistan is out of the way. Instead of spending extravagantly on the military expansion, Pakistan should come forward and full-fill the basic amenities for the citizen of its country. It’s the people who make the country and not the other way round.