It would not be wrong to say that minority communities in some areas live a life of constant fear and anger. The space for them is continuously shrinking and one-off incidents of justice are not helping them live a life of equals. The incident of torture of a Hindu family in Rahim Yar Khan is just another stark example of the plight of minority groups living in the country. Few days ago, a family of farm workers was held hostage and tortured by local landlords for drinking water from a tap placed outside a mosque. The incident comes just a month after a Hindu temple in the same city was vandalized by a mob after a nine-year-old boy, who had allegedly urinated in a seminary, was granted bail by a local court. Perhaps, it seems like that the ‘sanctity’ of holy places have become so fragile that men resort to violence to ‘save’ it. The landlords and their men had also beaten up the family for ‘violating the sanctity’ of the place. The Hindu family was only released after some residents intervened. While similar in nature, the only difference between the two cases of hate crime is that in one the law of the land took its course and the vandals were put behind bars while the temple restored, in the other justice is nowhere to be found.
Not only did the area police station refuse to register the case, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) South Punjab minority wing secretary general had also distanced himself from it as the attackers were related to a local PTI parliamentarian. Law enforcement agencies in the country were once again influenced by the privileged few for whom the rules are easily bent. What is worse is that the ruling party’s senior leaders have time and again made tall claims that the country is safe for its minorities. Earlier this year, Punjab Governor Chaudhry Mohammad Sarwar had said “Pakistan is the safest country in the world for minorities.” One would only like to know what other countries was the governor comparing Pakistan to as forced conversions, brutal mob attacks and vandalism of minorities’ worship places are sometime a reality in this country. The ruling PTI must take notice of the torture incident, especially considering that one of its own parliamentarians was involved. Our minorities need to be heard before rampant discrimination becomes a norm.