How to stop the rape of Hindu and Sikh women in Pakistan
The recent abduction, conversion and rape of two Sikh girls in Pakistan begs the question: What is the human rights situation in that country?
There are far less human rights violations in Jammu & Kashmir today than in Pakistan. According to Dawn, Pakistan’s newspaper of record, about 20 Hindu girls are abducted, converted and raped every month in rural Sindh alone. That means about one woman a day in rural Sindh alone. Imagine if all of Pakistan were considered.
The infamous case of Rinkle Kumari comes to mind. A Pakistani Supreme Court judge deciding the case claimed that Kumari’s forced marriage was legitimate because the same thing happens to Muslim women in India. When does such a thing happen in India on a regular basis?
Pakistani Muslim men would not allow a Hindu man to marry a Pakistani Muslim woman. Why then do they have designs upon Hindu and Sikh women? In a theology that permits conversion by duress, howsoever its scriptures might decry it, what else do you expect? It’s not as if there are not enough Muslim women for Pakistani Muslim males to marry.
The point is, just as the abominable blasphemy laws, abduction, conversion and rape of Hindu and Sikh girls is widely condoned in Pakistan. Even liberal Muslims feel that howsoever it was done, the girl has been brought into enlightenment. Politicians, the police, and the judiciary all turn a blind eye to the rape of Hindu and Sikh girls. In fact, they condone it, just as they condone the blasphemy laws.
Imran Khan goes about gaggling that minority rights are safe just when all of this is happening under his very nose. He had publicly promised his ex-wife Jemima, who still retains enormous influence over him, that he would repeal the blasphemy laws and the equally abominable Hudood Ordinances if he became PM, but once ensconced, all he has on his mind are the artificial atrocities in Kashmir. Artificial because not one life has been lost since Article 370 was repealed in J&K nor has one woman been raped.
Pakistan is better off under direct military rule. History says so. Pakistan prospered economically under Ayub Khan, Zia ul-Haq, and Musharraf. It’s just that Zia was a bigoted jihadi who hated India and tried to prise Khalistan out of it. Both Ayub and Musharraf were on the other hand whiskey-swigging liberal generals.
It is perhaps understandable why the military has become so powerful in Pakistan. Faced with an eternal enemy in “Hindu” India, Pakistan has had to buttress itself. But then India has a Muslim neighbour in Bangladesh with which its relations are good. According to Lord Louis Mountbatten, 10 million people, and not 1 million, perished in Partition. Almost all of this bloodshed was with the then-West Pakistan.
It says something then about what the Punjabi thinks of other Punjabis, and what Bengalis think of one another, especially in times of stress, although both Punjab and Bengal voted not to be split up in 1947.
Take the case of Egypt. Nasser, Sadat and Mubarak were all military officers. Then the Muslim Brotherhood came to power through elections, but the Egyptian army felt that it was too jihadi for Egypt and deposed it with another military man, El-Sisi, who promises to rule for life.
Egypt has mended fences with Israel. Egypt does not want to foster jihad. Nor do many other Muslim countries like the UAE and Bangladesh. But Pakistan is hung up on jihad against India.
The veneer of democracy that Pakistan gives itself is a sham. I don’t even know why Pakistanis keep aspiring to democracy. Perhaps it’s their India complex. If India has democracy, Pakistan must have it.
But a democracy looks after the welfare of the people. Since 370 was abrogated a month ago, all that Pakistan’s ruling classes are doing is railing against India. When are they going to set their own house, their own economy, in order?
Then there is the facade of democracy. Everyone knows that Bajwa is the guy to talk to in Pakistan, but Imran Khan has to tag along for appearances sake. Note that in his recent visit to the US, Imran flew commercial class, while Bajwa arrived in Washington in his own aircraft.
In 1989, when Benazir Bhutto was the Pakistani premier, the Pakistani army launched its jihad in Kashmir.
But when Musharraf assumed the reins of Pakistan, relations with India became better in due course.
And just think of the fate of civilian leaders in Pakistan: Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, Benazir, Nawaz Sharif, Zardari. A quick death or a prolonged one, take your pick.
The only gotcha is that the general ruling Pakistan must be liberal a la Ayub and Musharraf. Recent army chiefs such as Kayani, Raheel Sharif and now Bajwa have all been ghazis, warriors of the faith.
A liberal general would not have to cater to majoritarian sentiment and should be able to curb, if not stop, the spate of abductions, conversions and rapes of Hindu and Sikh women enveloping the benighted land that Pakistan has become today.