Imran Khan lectures India, but bigotry is coded into law and idea of Pakistan

File image of Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan. AP

Rogue nations share a trait. At some point, they stop caring about what others think of its deceit, doublespeak, and even delusion.

Pakistan has long stopped bothering whether its lies are infuriating or amusing the world. It keeps telling those for small, tactical gains.

The latest barrage of lies from its prime minister and national security adviser (NSA) is a good example. Imran Khan has much to talk about the treatment of Muslim minorities around the world these days.

NSA Yusuf Moeed would not be outdone either. Still fuming about the meeting on Afghanistan to be chaired by India (which Pakistan has boycotted), he had a dig as well.

In Pakistan, wolves expound on the virtues of veganism. A nation created in the dark womb of hate explains the merits of coexistence to the most ancient, inclusive civilisation.

The Pakistani state is constitutionally geared to be bigoted and genocidal. Take blasphemy laws, for instance. With Section 295 of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) as its centrepiece, this group of laws is used to arrest, jail, torture and execute mainly minorities.

In 2009, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination said Pakistan’s “blasphemy laws may be used in a discriminatory manner against religious minority groups”.

According to a 2014 paper by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) titled Minorities Under Attack: Faith-based Discrimination and Violence in Pakistan: “Supposedly to prevent discrimination in employment in the public sector, a quota system was put in place during the regime of General Zia Ul Haq, reserving 5% of public sector jobs for minorities. However, in practice this system exacerbates social discrimination and stereotypes. Many municipalities fill their 5% quota by employing only minorities in undesirable positions such as sanitation workers.”

Pakistan does not have codified personal laws for Hindus and Sikhs. These communities are often at sea on marriage or divorce, family matters, or travel abroad.

Then there is legally sanctioned land grab.

“When Pakistan was created, many non-Muslim communities left their homes in areas that were to become Pakistani territory to live in India. They left behind many properties and land, including temples and places of worship and land with religious symbolism,” the HRCP report says. “Soon after Independence, a trust was established under federal law called the Evacuee Trust Property Board to manage the property, notably places of worship. Although this board does not have the right to sell any of these properties, much of the land has been occupied and/or sold. This is notably the case for properties belonging to the Hindu community.”

Pakistan’s Hyderabad once had 350 temples and gurudwaras. Only five to ten reportedly remain. In Sindh, burial places belonging to shudras and untouchables have been taken over by Muslims.

Higher education institutions have a quota system weighed against non-Muslim students. In Islamabad’s Quaid-e-Azam University, for instance, each department may only enrol only two non-Muslim students, the report states. Beyond those two seats, merit doesn’t matter.

Pakistan’s professional colleges award 15 to 20 extra marks to students who have memorised the Quran during admission.

Forced marriages and conversion of girls take place with impunity and legal cover. Muslim religious law holds puberty as a licence for marriage. In 2013, a UN panel decried forced marriages and conversions in Pakistan and the use of religious law to justify such crimes.

Bigotry runs deep in every vein of the Pakistani system. Muslim law requires the consent of parents or a wali (guardian) of the bride. The same does not hold for ‘kafir’ girls.

Muslim men forcibly convert and marry Hindu, Christian or Sikh girls as the guardian’s consent is not even legally required. Court rulings have supported forced conversions of Hindu girls as young as seven to Islam.

While Khalistani puppets of the ISI target India from Canada or the UK, Pakistani Sikhs are singled out and forced to pay jizya or a discriminatory tax to practice one’s faith to militants, the report states. Of the 160 historical gurdwaras in Pakistan, only about 20-24 remain. A Sikh unani doctor was killed in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on 30 September. So much for Pakistan’s commitment to the spirit and sanctity of the Kartarpur corridor.

While India has had Muslims as president to intel chief, chief minister to chief justice, Pakistan has no Hindu at the high echelons of power. While India has had Muslims as cricket captains, in Pakistan, a Yousuf Youhana had to convert to Mohammad Yousuf to grovel for the spot. While Zaheer Khan, Mohammed Kaif or Mohammed Shami are celebrated by a billion Indian fans, Pakistani Hindu cricketer Danish Kaneria complains of discrimination by his teammates and attempts to force him to change his religion.

There is actually no comparison between the two nations. Bigotry exists in India in traces that one finds in every otherwise civilised society. Bigotry propels the very idea of Pakistan.



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