Pakistan Cabinet Official Makes Inflammatory Statement About Religious Minorities
Pakistan’s Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting, Marriyum Aurangzeb, told reporters on Friday that “Jews and Hindus” are secretly funding an opposition political party for the purposes of “halting the way of Pakistan’s prosperity.”
The most recent data available from the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics lists Pakistan’s Hindus as just under 2 percent of the total population. The Pakistan Hindu Council counts over 8 million Hindus living in various parts of the country. By contrast, Jews account for fewer than 800 registered voters in the country, according to a Pakistani media report. Whether there is one person or one-hundred million, however, the fact remains that a Cabinet official has publicly suggested that these beleaguered minority communities are involved in an anti-Pakistan conspiracy.
Pakistan’s Hindu population has been the target of violent attacks in recent years, and are already suspected of secretly working for Indian security agencies. This statement by the Information Minister further threatens their safety and risks heightened discrimination due to their personal religious beliefs.
Prime Minister Abbasi should publicly repudiate Marriyum Aurangzeb’s remarks and follow the lead of his predecessor, Nawaz Sharif, who has spoken out against religion discrimination, noting that citizens of all religious backgrounds have “worked hand-in-hand to defend the country and contribute to its peace and prosperity.”