Hindu community lives in constant fear in Pakistan: US lawmakers
Washington: Influential American lawmakers have expressed concern over deterioration of human rights situation in particular those of the minority Hindus in Pakistan's Sindh province.
"Sindh's Hindu community lives in constant fear of their women being forcibly converted to Islam," Congresswomen Loretta Sanchez alleged during a briefing on human rights situation in Sindh held in US Congress this week.
Sanchez, Co-Chair of Sindh Caucus in US House of Representatives, said that Sindh is now in "humanitarian crisis" due to terrible human rights violations and other crimes like disappearances and assassinations of political activists and dissidents, forced conversions of Hindu women and religious extremist violence is on rise in Sindh.
"Political activists or dissidents are specifically targeted and Islamic extremism continues to grow in the Sindh province. The madrassa network is constantly going against the Sindhi population," she alleged.
Congressman Brad Sherman said, "we are building bridges between Sindh and the people of the US. We want American government to communicate with the people of Sindh in Sindhi language. We are still not successful to bring the broadcast of Voice of America in Sindhi Language."
There is no country more important to the security of America than Pakistan and there is no community more tolerant than Sindhi speaking community of Pakistan, said Sherman, who has been instrumental in recent launching of Sindhi language website of the US consulate Karachi.
Congressman Adam Schiff also spoke at the briefing.
Briefing US lawmakers and Congressional staffers on the current situation in Sindh, New York-based journalist and human rights activist Hasan Mujtaba said that mushrooming of madrassa network are providing sanctuaries to the sectarian and religious militant groups.
"Hafiz Saeed and his Jamat-ul Dawa are given a free hand to be active and operational in Sindh province specially in its desert Thar areas bordering India and coastal area of Thatta," he alleged.
"Saeed's outfit Jamat-ul Dawa has illegally occupied land reserved for a girls college in Mithi town in district Tharparkar, where a madrassa is built and run the networks. Mosques are managed under the disguise of social welfare organization in districts like Diplo, Nagarparkar, Mithi and other parts of Sindh," he alleged.
Amnesty International US Director T Kumar said disappearances in Sindh are happening for last five years but nobody is taking notice.
Sufi Laghari, executive director of Washington-based Sindhi Foundation, raised the issue of marginalization of Sindhis in allocation and representation in jobs and other rights in Pakistan.