Hindus are officially recognized as Jati and Scheduled Caste (SC) and constitute around 2% of Pakistan’s overall population. The majority of Hindus in Pakistan are concentrated in the Sindh province.
At the time of the partition of British India, Hindus represented almost 15 percent of Pakistan’s population; today, their numbers have been dwindling steadily and it has reached to shocking levels of less than 2 percent. According to reports around 5000 Hindus flee Pakistan because of the dangerous levels of persecution. Madrasas in Pakistan are known for openly threatening to destroy the social fabric of the country by making bold claims that they would forcefully convert Hindus to Muslims. Young Hindu girls are a regular target as they are forcefully converted to Islam.
Pakistan’s Hindu community is regarded as alien community and they are not accepted as normal citizens. This is highly evident in the school syllabus of Pakistan which teaches Pakistani students that Hindus are to be hated. The curriculum openly discriminates against Hindus and also several subjects taught in public schools, including Urdu, history, and Islamic studies, is filled with prejudice and hate-mongering against Hindus. A research analyzing the country’s textbooks from grade 1-10 concluded that “Hindus are repeatedly described as extremists and eternal enemies of Islam whose culture and society is based on injustice and cruelty, while Islam delivers a message of peace and brotherhood, concepts portrayed as alien to the Hindu.”
Today Hindus are persecuted in numerous ways including, forced conversions, pogroms, desecration of sites regarded as holy among Hindus and targeting individuals belonging to the Hindu faith. The issue of forced conversions of Hindus is widespread. The kidnapping of Hindu girls and forcefully converting them to Islam is especially predominant. This has been accepted in the public domain numerous times by Islamist clerics and politicians, thus confirming the state’s role and continued silence on this subject.
The deliberate destruction of Hindu temples is also part of Pakistan’s official policy where by the population can be altered to suit Pakistan’s interest. Just as in the case of the Christian minority, Pakistan sponsors the ethnic cleansing of Hindus. Due to the growing religious radicalization and intolerance in the country, Pakistani Hindus live under constant threat and surveillance. Like many other religious minorities, they are constantly under the crosshairs of radical Islamist groups and are victimized by the state’s discriminatory laws. Pakistan’s nationalism and identity have been defined in opposition to the concept of an India which is dominated by Hindus. Pakistan portrays Hindus as those who want to harm Muslims. Pakistan’s narrative is that the Hindu has always been the oppressor. By this Pakistan is deliberately fomenting religious tensions and distorting people’s views, as seen in Pakistani school textbooks. Today, the lives of Hindus in Pakistan are in dire straits and this is unlikely to stop if the state contributes to their oppression.