Minority Hindus of Pakistan Punjab’s Haroonabad area told to vacate houses

Pakistani Hindu minority supporters of Islamic charity organisation Jamaat-ud-Dawa protest in Hyderabad, December 16, 2008. About 200 Hindu women protested in Pakistan on Tuesday against restrictions on the Islamic charity that India says is a front for a militant group it blames for attacks in the city of Mumbai last month. Banner reads 'Is it terrorism to provide home to homeless and water to thrusty'. REUTERS/Akram Shahid (PAKISTAN)

Lahore (Punjab) [Pakistan]: The minority Hindu community in Pakistan, it seems, continues to face discrimination, prejudice, and intolerance.

Recently, dozens of Hindu families living in Haroonabad area of Bahawalnagar district in Pakistan’s Punjab province were asked to vacate their homes by June 28.

According to a report in The Nation, a notification was forwarded to residents of Chak 72/4R, asking them to vacate their homes immediately.

“.You people have been living here at Jarnali Sarak (The Grand Trunk Road) illegally for a long time and it has been notified on June 13, 2017, that these houses will be vacated because you are illegal occupants of this property,” The Nation quoted the notification, as saying.

“In other cases, the government property will be vacated with government’s force,” the notification further said.

Minority Hindus make up more than one percent of Pakistan’s 180 million-strong population and have been facing discrimination in an Islamic-dominant Pakistan since the partition of the Indian subcontinent in August 1947.

It is alleged that this coercive removal of Hindus is being done under pressure from the owners of a housing scheme who want to build the front gate by demolishing the houses of Hindus, who have been living there for the last three decades.

Protest demonstrations against the notification and the local administration have been going on. The Punjab government has been asked to stop the local administration from getting the houses vacated.

Residents have claimed that there is an underhand agreement between the local administration and the owners of the housing society on this matter.

Pakistan Muslim League (Zia) and Bahawalnagar-IV MNA Ijaz-ul-Haq has said he will look into the matter and provide complete assistance to people.

Society of Hindu Balmiki Mandar (SHBM) president (Haroonabad) Harbans Lal Sultani said 69 Hindu families have been living on government designated land called ‘Jurnaili Murabba’ since 1987 on the written orders of the then Bahawalnagar commissioner.

He added that allotment of five marlas to each Hindu family was completed when the Pakistan People’s Party was in power 1995.