Christian leaders in Pakistan have demanded the removal of Federal Minister for Religious Affairs Mufti Abdul Shakoor for religious hatred in the name of interfaith harmony. On January 31, Shakoor attended a seminar in Islamabad to discuss the issue of forced conversions in Pakistan.
According to the Associated Press of Pakistan, he addressed a one-day seminar titled “Religion Change, Issues, Discussions and Reality” at a local hotel. Some newly converted Muslims (from Christianity to Islam) were invited to give speeches on the issue of change of religion in the ceremony, in a way to make them speak against their previous religion i.e. Christianity and Hinduism, and their bad practices.
To this, some Christians objected and boycotted the ceremony.
They further said that the event was organised just to create hatred against minorities and their religious practices. Notably, Pakistan uses the blasphemy law to persecute Christians with the help of state and non-state actors to target minorities.
Blasphemy is pinned on them with the confidence that no judge would let them off the hook, with crowds demanding death outside his court.
Christians in Pakistan have been facing systematic persecution as not only their churches are being targeted but also girls who are being kidnapped and forcibly converted to Islam.
Christians make up less than two per cent of the population in Pakistan. Their numbers are decreasing as many of them are migrating to other countries for their safety.
Christians continue to suffer targeted violence and other abuses, including land-grabbing in rural areas, abductions and forced conversion, and the vandalisation of homes and churches.
Earlier, on December 28, 2022, a forty-year-old Hindu woman named Daya Bhel was gang-raped and beheaded. Her skin was also peeled off by a sharp weapon used by murderous savages in an agricultural field in Sinjhoro Village in Sindh, Pakistan. The woman is survived by four children.
On January 30, Narain Das Bheel, Founder and Chief Organiser of the Hindu Organisation of Sindh posted a video on the social media platform Twitter where Sikhs of Jacobabad, Sindh, Pakistan, could be heard narrating the incidents of atrocities they are facing.
The Sikh individual, identified as Harish Singh, was allegedly abused and hackled by the Muslim community. In the video, Harish Singh said that the incident took place when he was picking up his daughters from school. He was hackled and threatened to kill. The Muslim attackers also threatened to kill his daughters.
Harish Singh also said that his daughters are afraid and refuse to go to school. He has urged the locals to stand up and save him from the atrocities. It is to be noted that Islamic extremists in Pakistan have made it difficult for minorities to live normal life. In 2017, Sikhs were excluded from the census in Pakistan. This was the first time the minority group was not included in the census.
The Islamic Republic of Pakistan is well known for the persecution of religious minorities. Many of them have stated that they are being treated as second-class citizens in Pakistan. Hindus, Sikhs and Christians in Pakistan have also been targets of sexual harassment, and their religious practises and festivals have been abused and mocked several times. They are being taught the Islamic curriculum by force, and they say that it is compulsory for them.
Their places of worship have been destroyed. Several Muslims set fire to temples and vandalised the idols of Hindu deities on the temple premises. Minorities have been targets of religious violence and forced conversions for a long time now in the Islamic country.Notably, Systemic persecution of minorities, including Christians, Ahmadiya, Sikhs, and Hindus, through Draconian blasphemy laws, forced conversions and marriages, and extrajudicial killings have become a regular phenomenon in Pakistan. Attacks on holy and ancient sites of religious minorities in Pakistan is also a major issue.