Addressing a Minority Day celebration at President House in Islamabad, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan admitted the atrocities over minorities in the country, saying 'they've been left behind'
Khan reiterated his stance to uphold the rights of religious minorities and protect their place of worship, despite the growing religious persecution in the country. The Pakistani prime minister further questioned why people in Balochistan, rural Sindh or areas like Rajanpur would fight for Pakistan if no one in the state even asks about them.
He said, "How do you include humanity? When you protect everyone's rights. Why will people in Balochistan, Sindh or areas like Rajanpur fight for Pakistan if no one in the state even asks about them, if they have no stake in the state. They've been left behind."
(3/3) اقلیتوں کے لیے ایوان صدر میں منعقدہ تقریب میں وزیر اعظم عمران خان کا خطاب (29.07.19) pic.twitter.com/teDJxA2rRo— PTI (@PTIofficial) July 29, 2019
His statement comes months after the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan in its annual report in April raised concerns about incidents of forced conversions and marriages of Hindu and Christian girls, saying around 1,000 such cases were reported in the southern Sindh province alone last year.
In March, two Hindu teenage sisters - Raveena (13) and Reena (15) - were allegedly kidnapped by a group of "influential" men from their home in Ghotki district in Sindh on the eve of Holi. Soon after the kidnapping, a video went viral in which a cleric was purportedly shown soleminising the marriage of the two girls, triggering a nationwide outrage.
Early this month, Pakistan's Sindh Assembly unanimously passed a resolution demanding that the practice of forced conversions and abductions of Hindu girls must be stopped and action be taken against those involved in such activities.
The resolution - moved by Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA) lawmaker Nand Kumar Goklani - was supported by the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party as well as Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and the hardline Jamaat-e-Islami.
Hindus form the biggest minority community in Pakistan.
According to official estimates, 75 lakh Hindus live in Pakistan. However, according to the community, over 90 lakh Hindus are living in the country. Majority of Pakistan's Hindu population is settled in Sindh province where they share culture, traditions, and language with their Muslim fellows.
Khan on his maiden visit to the US faced protests by ethnic and religious minorities from Pakistan, drawing the attention of the Trump administration towards human rights violations and forced disappearances in that country.
At separate rallies in front of the White House, US Capitol and in front of US Institute of Peace building, the Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM) brought together ethnic and minority groups, including Balochs, to protest against Khan.
(With PTI inputs)