As unkind as Pakistan is to its minorities in life, it is equally unkind in death. A Balmiki Hindu community graveyard in the city has been lying unused for over a year after a demonstration led by a local cleric had prevented its inauguration planned for May 24, 2014. The land has belonged to Hindu families living in the area, to bury or cremate its dead, since partition. But due to encroachments at the burial site and undue pressure from the cleric at a nearby mosque, Qari Razaul Mustafa, the government cancelled the inauguration a year ago. Why is it that the government fails time and time again, to provide even the most basic human rights to the minorities of this country?

Qari Mustafa has insisted that the Hindus plan to build a temple on the land. This allegation made the government literally hand over the keys of the graveyard to him. Qari Mustafa’s baseless argument is that the community should not be allowed to use the land to hold rituals as it will disturb Muslim residents of the area. Do clerics take their Hindu neighbours’ permission when they celebrate Eid? Do they think twice about ‘disturbing’ the Hindu residents of the area when they blare into their loudspeakers till the early hours of the morning?

He is not the only cleric squatting on what rightfully belongs to the Hindu community. In Karak in KP, the Deputy Commissioner of Karak has submitted a report to the apex court over a land dispute over the construction of a temple. The report stated that the temple has been reconstructed according to the orders of the court. However, the Patron of Pakistan Hindu Council Dr Kumar, told the bench that the temple had not yet been rebuilt as a Muslim cleric, Iftikhar-ud-Din, had occupied the site.

Additionally the Deputy Commissioner has stipulated that the Hindu community will not indulge in preaching of their religion, or offer their religious prayers, arrange any religious gathering or purchase any further land in the area.

Added to these horrific cases of harassment are regularly reported cases of kidnappings of Hindu girls and forced conversions. The community is regularly persecuted and we offer them no justice of protection. The fact that the government cannot even ensure that a minority community can bury their dead with respect is simply unacceptable. Our flag represents the minorities in this country, yet sadly the government does not.