|Source: News Bharati Date: 3/9/2012 5:06:31 PM|
Islamabad, March 9: Hindu community in Pakistan celebrated Holi- festival of colour with great zeal on Thursday. Men and women of all ages gathered at various temples and community centres to commemorate the occasion with friends, families and neighbours.
Much gaiety was seen in temples located in cities which have a comparatively greater Hindu population such as in Lahore and Sindh region.
Sanjesh Dhanja, President of Pakistan Hindu Seva Welfare Trust said, “In the JPMC staff colony, where a sizable Hindu community of 40-50 families has been living since before the creation of Pakistan, the Holi celebrations formally began after the effigy of Holika, (the female incarnation of evil) was burned on Wednesday night.”
“Like the residents of the JPMC staff colony, Ranchor Lane, Clifton, Sadder and Korangi also witnessed the same fervent celebration of the occasion”, he added.
A roofless school run by the Pakistan Hindu Seva Welfare Trust near the Kalapul distributed free colours and glitters among children to celebrate the festival.
“The school provides free primary education to more than fifty children irrespective of their caste, creed or religion”, said the institute’s information secretary, Deewan Weeru Mal.
Pakistan Hindu Seva Welfare Trust (PHS) is a non-political, secular, non-profit and progressive humanitarian charity organization, which provides required assistance in health care and education for humanity causes in Pakistan. PHS strives to work for the betterment and upliftment of the common people of Pakistan and also serve as an advisory advocacy group to the people of the community.
Adviser to Prime Minister for National Harmony Dr Paul Bhatti felicitated the Hindu community on this occasion.
Dr. Paul Bhatti said, “Minorities in Pakistan have suffered a lot following unrest, terrorism and poverty in the country and their condition can be improved by promoting their rights, ensuring life safety, imparting education, providing legal support, security, real protection of the freedom and rights of citizenship through interfaith harmony dialogue.”
“All this will be possible if democratic institutions are stabilized in Pakistan leading to create a society where peace, religious freedom, civil co-existence and human dignity are respected”, he said.
Minorities have rendered valuable services in creation of Pakistan and development in different fields including defence, education, health and social welfare, he added.
At present the Hindu population of Pakistan is in great peril. According to the census Hindus in Pakistan constitutes about 2.5 million population about 2% of the total population but this number is decreasing rapidly and is soon expected to be less than 1%.
On average, 25-35 reports of kidnapping of young Hindu girls on religious grounds are filed in Pakistan. Only 26 out of the 428 temples are functional now.
Many cases of kidnapping of young Hindu girls and their forceful conversion have been reported in recent months. A Hindu girl was kidnapped and allegedly forced to convert in Pakistan’s southern Sindh province. According to recent media reports Hindu families in Baluchistan fleeing away as there is often human rights violation of Hindus in the region.
There is no protector for the Religious rights of Hindus in Pakistan in the cases of ‘Forced Conversions’ of Hindu Girls in Pakistan. Hindus in Pakistan have demanded immediate action against forced conversions of Hindu girls in Pakistan.
The Hindus of Pakistan are threatened by constant discrimination. Their security, property and lives are at risk on a day to day basis. Hindus in Pakistan are forced to live in a state in which they cannot openly identify themselves as Hindus.
Despite these atrocities Hindus in Pakistan have conserved their culture and tradition. They celebrate their rituals and festivals with enthusiasm and joy.