Barely two days after Islamist goons attacked the Nankana Sahib in Pakistan, a Sikh was shot dead at Peshawar on Sunday.

The 25-year-old Sikh youth has been identified as Rowinder Singh. He had arrived at Peshawar from the Shangla district in Khyber Paktunkhwa to shop for his wedding. This heart wrenching incident comes in the wake of scores from the Left protesting the newly amended citizenship law, which only aims at giving a home to the religiously persecuted from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan.

The consequences of partition:

The new law eases the process to grant Indian citizenship to Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan. Owing to the persecution of the minorities, Jawaharlal Nehru and Liaquat Ali Khan signed a pact in 1950, which came to be known as the Nehru-Liaquat Pact.

The pact said that forced conversions would be unrecognised and minority rights were confirmed. It also said that abducted women and looted property would be returned. While India honoured the pact, Pakistan didn’t. Knowing fully well that Pakistan would not keep its word, Shyama Prasad Mookerjee quit as Industries minister from the Nehru Cabinet.

In 1966, Niranjan Varma, a Jana Sangha leader asked external affairs minister, Sardar Swaran Singh for details on the pact. The question was whether both nations were honouring the pact. In his reply Singh said instances of violations were found immediately after the pact was signed. He meant that Pakistan had not honoured the pact since day one.

The fact of the matter is that the religious persecution continues even till date in Pakistan. The Indian Constitution gave rights to all citizens irrespective of religion, but in Pakistan the minority continues to be treated as second class citizens. Through the 20th century, automatic citizenship was granted to refugees from Pakistan and a classic case of this was Dr Manmohan Singh.

The Pakistan Paradox:

Noted journalist, Christophe Jaffrelot writes in his book ‘The Pakistan Paradox’ about the failed state of Pakistan. He writes that the tug of war between the Mohajirs, who controlled the government and the Punjabis who were majority in the army and bureaucracy meant that constitution was promulgated only in 1956. This delay led to the erosion of the people’s faith in the politicians, while the military continued to strengthen itself.

‘The strength of army is such that even when civilians are in office, Pakistan is not a full-fledged democracy,’ he writes in his book. He also says that until 1973, the constitution provided a secular identity. However, the amendment to the constitution in 1974 decreed the Ahmadis as non-Muslims and from here began the Islamisation of Pakistan. It only intensified under General Zia ul Haq and this resulted in the persecution of the Hindus, Sikhs, Christians and Shias.

He further states that one of the pressing problems in Pakistan is the sectarian and religious civil war. It threatens to cut the country vertically if not resolved by the establishment, he further states.

Jaffrelot makes a fine argument on the legacy of Jinnah. He says that Jinnah did not have a clear political agenda. Although he may have wanted partition for equal parity with the Hindus, he created that condition which eventually led to partition.

The anti-Hindu bigotry:

Most media houses and the academia have for long nurtured anti-Hindu bigotry. The manner in which the protests are being held, it looks like a clear attempt to whip up hate against the Hindus.

Priyamvada Gopal, a Reader at the Faculty of English, Cambridge University after the passage of the Citizenship Amendment Bill, called for the persecution of Hindus and branded them ‘sickos.’ This has been the larger narrative around the protests, and it continues till date.

Why are the Hindus being targeted, when they are the only stateless major religious group in the world? The same people branding the Hindus as bigots did not raise their voice when there was Hindu genocide in 1921, 1946 or 1971. They even kept quiet when the ethnic cleansing of Hindus took place in Kashmir in the 1990s. Instead they raise issues over the imaginary genocide of Muslims in India. The Indian Constitution unlike that in Pakistan has given equal right to every Indian citizen. Further the new law does not target the Indian Muslims and those coming out and saying that it is anti-Muslim sound foolish.

Not just this, there are political parties that have been whipping up hate against the Hindus and Sikhs in Pakistan. The Hindus and Sikhs are the most persecuted in Pakistan and there are statistics to defend that.

There are many who have even raised the cause of the illegal immigrants from Bangladesh and the Rohingya Muslims in the midst of this debate. The manner in which the illegal immigrants have changed the social fabric of society especially in West Bengal and the north eastern states is not something that is unknown. They have snatched away jobs, land and continue to indulge in anti-national acts. Further they are a majority in their own country, and it is up to those countries to grant them rights.

 The new Indian law offers citizenship to a minority community. The Muslims are a majority in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. India does not have to offer citizenship to the Muslims from this country.

Telling numbers:

There was a time when Pakistan had the fifth largest population of Hindus in the world. The constant threat that the Hindus and Sikhs live under had led them to reaching out to India.

The Hindus and Sikhs had to flee Pakistan to protect their wives and children from the Islamist bigots. They had left everything and fled to India and lived in deplorable conditions. The new citizenship law only offers them a home.

The blasphemy laws in Pakistan are impossible to live with for the minority community. A law introduced by the British to promote harmony was changed by Zia ul Haq and this led to the complete Islamisation of Pakistan. Experts that MyNation spoke with say that the irony is that this law aims at protecting the Muslims who form 97% of the population. What it does in reality is aids the persecution of the minorities who constitute 3% of the population.

If one looks at the numbers, there are hardly 8,000 Sikhs left in Pakistan. The number in 2002 stood at 40,000 and this raises an alarming question as to why the numbers have dwindled. Many have fled, several more have been killed and others forcibly converted to Islam.