Minorities feeling insecure in Pakistan, says minister

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

ISLAMABAD - Abduction for ransom and killing of people belonging to Pakistan’s minority communities, including Hindus, has caused insecurity among them, a minister said.

Balochistan Minister for Minorities Affairs Basant Lal Gulshan said Monday there was a sense of insecurity among the minority communities.

The daily Dawn quoted him as saying that the Hindu community was still waiting for the safe return of their religious leader Lakki Chand Garji when another member of their community was killed during a kidnapping attempt in Quetta Sunday.

Rajesh Kumar, a trader, was going to work when armed men in a car intercepted him and tried to kidnap him. When he resisted, he was shot dead.

As many as three Hindu traders have been killed so far during attempted kidnappings in and around Quetta during the past three years.

Gulshan said that people belonging to the minority communities were being compelled to migrate to safer places.

Ram Singh Sodho, who was elected to the Sindh assembly in 2008 on a Pakistan Muslim League-Functional (PML-F) reserved seat for minorities, fled to India and sent in his resignation to the assembly speaker, Nisar Ahmad Khoro.

Incidents of kidnapping for ransom of Hindus in Pakistan have seen an alarming rise during the last few months, forcing many families to abandon their homes and shift to India or other countries.

Lakki Chand Garji, 82, who is the ‘maharaja’ of the Kali Mata Mandir in Kalat town in Balochistan province and considered to be one of Pakistan’s most revered Hindu spiritual leaders, was kidnapped by a gang of armed men Dec 21 last year. He is yet to be traced and rescued.

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