The National Assembly has passed a unanimous resolution condemning Wednesday’s attack on a Hindu temple by a charged mob in Bhong village of Punjab’s Rahim Yar Khan district.
The incident saw hundreds of people vandalise the temple and block the Sukkur-Multan Motorway (M-5) after a nine-year-old Hindu boy, who allegedly urinated in a local seminary, was granted bail by a local court.
“This House strongly condemns the ransacking of the temple,” the resolution reads, adding that Prime Minister Imran Khan had also condemned the incident and issued instructions to bring the culprits to justice.
“The Constitution of Pakistan provides complete protection to the rights of minorities and this House also affirms that rights of minorities and their places of worship will be fully protected. The whole nation and government are united on this point.
“Islam completely protects the rights of minorities. The House reassures the Hindu community and Pakistan Hindu Council of their safety,” the resolution reads.
The parliamentary affairs minister, in his comments to the House, said: “Whoever has done this action in Bhong has nothing to do with Islam or humanity. Religious scholars have strictly condemned this.”
He further said a range of officials from the prime minister to top officeholders of the provincial governments had censured the incident.
“As humans and as Muslims we are deeply saddened by this […] we are all one on this issue […] because we ourselves have suffered [religious discrimination] and we cry about Babri Mosque and injustice in occupied Kashmir,” said Khan.
“I want to state on behalf of Prime Minister Imran Khan, the government, the opposition and our senior leadership that at this time the whole country, government and this House express sympathy and grief with the minority community, particularly the Hindu community, and reassure them of every kind of protection,” he said.
The minister further said the government had always condemned such incidents and that the entire state apparatus and civil society stood with minorities at such times, which he said was in contrast to India where “[Narendra] Modi’s Hindutva RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) government stands with the perpetrators”.
Meanwhile, Federal Human Rights Minister Shireen Mazari said the Ministry of Human Rights was in contact with Rahim Yar Khan police and a first information report was already registered and suspects were being arrested.
“The prime minister has given his commitment that the government will restore the temple at its expense,” she said as she asked for the issue to not be politicised.
PPP MNA Syed Naveed Qamar said that any incidents related to places of worship needed to be collectively condemned and solutions devised to prevent their reoccurrence.
He also criticised the local administration for taking the matter lightly instead of trying to preemptively solve it.
‘Fascist ideology can’t rule here’Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry, addressing a media briefing on the matter today in Islamabad, said: “The people who hurt the religious sentiments of our Hindu brothers should be meted exemplary punishment and we should stand against every person who targets our Pakistani brothers on the basis of colour, race and religion.”
Chaudhry said he was “very clear” that respecting the two colours in Pakistan’s flag was “obligatory on us”.
“The white colour is as respectable for us as the green colour in the flag and it represents the rights of minorities who live in Pakistan,” he said, adding: “Pakistan is not India, No fascist ideology can rule here.”
The prime minister, the political and military leadership and the courts accepted the Constitution, which promises the protection of minority rights for the sake of a progressive country, the information minister said.
“I am very happy that the prime minister took personal notice of the issue and now the chief justice of Pakistan has also taken notice,” he said.
Chaudhry said that Pakistan’s future was of a progressive country where minorities would be “completely safe”.