India slammed Imran Khan and Pakistan Army for their treatment of its minority population (Image: Twitter)
India strongly hit back at Pakistan using the 'Right to Reply' at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in response to Prime Minister Imran Khan's maiden speech on Friday. First Secretary Vidisha Maitra, a 2008-IFS, India’s newest diplomat at the United Nations, soon became a talking point as she tore into each and every claim of Pakistan Prime Minister. Vidisha Maitra while slamming Pakistan said, "having mainstreamed terrorism and hate speech, Pakistan is trying to play its wild card as the newfound champion of human rights."
"This is a country that has shrunk the size of its minority community from 23% in 1947 to 3% today and has subjected Christians, Sikhs, Ahmadiyas, Hindus, Shias, Pashtuns, Sindhis and Balochis to draconian blasphemy laws, systemic persecution, blatant abuse and forced conversions. Their newfound fascination for preaching human rights is akin to trophy hunting of the endangered mountain goat – markhor," she added.
How Pakistan Has Mistreated Hindu, Sikhs, Balochs And Other Ethnic Groups
Pakistan is overwhelmingly Muslim but Christians represent about 1.6 per cent of the population. Christian communities remain among the poorest sections of society and often do menial jobs. Recently, Asia Bibi, whose full name is Aasia Noreen, was the second Christian sentenced to death under Pakistan’s blasphemy laws. Asia Bibi was alleged for “defamatory and sarcastic” statements about the Prophet (PBUH) on June 14, 2009, during an argument with Muslim women.
Pakistani authorities excluded Sikhs from the most recent census in 2017, the country's first national headcount in 19 years. Rights campaigners say its size has drastically come down in the past two decades. Reports of forced conversions of Sikh population in Pakistan have alarmed the Sikh community in country.
Pakistan's population of Ahmadis is very small somewhere between 0.22% and 2.2 per cent. The city of Rabwah in Punjab, Pakistan used to be the global headquarters of the Ahmadiyya Community before they were moved to England. A massive persecution was launched by anti-Ahmadiyya groups including Jamaat-e-Islami to persecute the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community by Islamists. They forced the Government of Pakistan under Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto to pass a constitutionally Second Amendment to the Constitution of Pakistan for declaring members of Ahmadiyya Muslim Community as not-Muslims. Anti-Ahmadiyya groups have called for an Islamist jihad to the finish the community.
Many Hindu temples have been desecrated, destroyed, or converted into government offices in Pakistan. The plight of Hindus in Pakistan is nowhere more evident than in the fact that the population of Hindus in 1947, at the time of Partition, was estimated to be anywhere from 15 to 24 per cent. While there is no authoritative claim on these numbers, in 1998 the Hindu population in Pakistan was somewhere at 1.6 per cent.
Recently, there have been many cases of Hindu girls being abducted and forced to convert. Recently, a girl from Ghotki in Pakistan’s Sindh was found dead on Monday in her hostel room in Aseefa Medical Dental College in Larakana. Her brother Dr Vishal Sundar has alleged foul play in her death.
According to Library of Congress, Pew Research Centre, Oxford University, the CIA Factbook and other experts, adherents of Shi'a Islam in Pakistan make up between 15-20 per cent of the country's total population. Shias allege discrimination by the Pakistani government since 1948, claiming that Sunnis are given preference in business, official positions and administration of justice. Among those blamed for the sectarian violence in the country are mainly Sunni militant groups, such as the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, Sipah-e-Sahaba, Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan. These attacks sometimes result in tit-for-tat reprisal attacks by Shia victims.
Pakistan’s Pashtuns have stirred up a storm against the country. The DG ISPR, Asif Ghafoor, the spokesperson for the Pakistan army, recently suggested that the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement receives funding from the Indian and Afghan intelligence services. The military will continue to do everything it can to muzzle the movement. Since it has already gone so far as to classify citizens protesting injustices, as anti-state.
Sindhis and Mohajirs are two large ethnic communities living in Sindh province. Sindh is the third largest of Pakistan's four provinces with an area of approximately 54,407 square miles. The Sindhis as well as the Mohajirs make substantial allegations of discrimination and persecution. Their grievances are largely directed at the Punjabis who dominate the bureaucracy and the armed forces.
The insurgency in Balochistan is a guerrilla war waged by Baloch nationalists against the governments of Pakistan. The News International reported in 2012 that a Gallup survey conducted for DFID revealed that the majority of Baloch do not support independence from Pakistan. Only 37 per cent of Baloch were in favour of independence. Amongst Balochistan's Pashtun population support for independence was even lower at 12 per cent.