The small Pakistani Hindu community based in Islamabad and Rawalpindi came out in solidarity with the Christians on Thursday and held a protest here condemning the Peshawar church bombing. They had taken part in earlier protest marches too.
Security not on agenda
There are about 115 Hindu families in Islamabad and about 400 families in Rawalpindi. Security is not on their agenda, but they have a list of demands.
Pandit Channalal from Rawalpindi said that while the Hindu community here was not being targeted, it had a list of demands which the government was not agreeing to.
While Hindus elsewhere in the country, especially in Sindh, were under threat and there had been some “forced conversions”, the community was highly integrated here, members said. Rawalpindi had a Krishna temple but in Islamabad, despite repeated requests, the government was not handing over a temple near Rawal Lake to the community for active worship. There was another temple at Saidpur which was no longer in use.
Prof. A.K. Tanwani said he had met the former President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister to press this demand but nothing had happened. “We live on hope that it will happen one day,” he said.
Mansera in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has a large Shiva temple which draws huge gathering on festival days.
Mr. Channalal said the community was demanding a temple, a community centre and a crematorium.
He said it was shocking that there was no crematorium in Islamabad.
There was one in Rawalpindi but it was inside the city. He said a crematorium did exist in the capital, but it had been encroached upon.