STOP VIOLENCE AGAINST HINDUS OF PAKISTAN

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SVA-HOP

NO LOWER-CASTE VOICE IN GOVERNMENT

There are six legislatures in Pakistan, two at federal level (lower and upper houses of parliament), and one for each of the four provinces that comprise Pakistan.

The Government of Pakistan has allocated 32 reserved seats to minority communities in the six assemblies. Of this, 19 are reserved for Hindus. The "representative" at the "reserved" seat is nominated, not elected.

In practice, these "reserved" seats are bought by the "representative" who can pay the highest price. They, as a result, have no interest in serving the wider Hindu community because they are not answerable to any constituency.

It comes as no surprise that the "representatives" are almost entirely upper-caste Hindus, because it is only they who can afford to pay. Of the 19 seats for Hindus, 18 are occupied by the upper-caste.

In effect, the lower-caste section has no voice through which they can express their fears and grievances. They are POWERLESS.

They are suppressed by the wider Muslim community and neglected by their own upper-caste Hindus.

The Hindu community as a whole has to re-think how it views itself if it is to survive the overpowering impact of institutionalized discrimination twined with the spread of extremist activity across the Sindh landscape.

The spread of extremism or jihadist culture has acquired a momentum of its own. The State, though it whole-heartedly supported the advent of jihadist activity, now finds it difficult to control the proliferation of this culture.

In India, the State has helped provide uplift for its scheduled-caste population through positive job discrimination schemes and reservation of university seats. At the same time, Indian school text books condemn the caste system.

The Government of Pakistan, to the writer's best knowledge, has never provided such welfare support for scheduled-caste Hindus, which is why caste is probably stronger among Hindus in Pakistan than it is in India. The Muslim community's attitude towards caste discrimination is either indifference or "If you don't like it, convert!"

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