Pakistan polls fail to stir hope among Pak Hindu refugees in India

JAIPUR: On the eve of general assembly polls in Pakistan, over 20,000-30,000 Pakistani Hindus overstaying with lapsed visas in Rajasthan have no hope from major political parties —Imran Khan’s PTI, Nawaz Sharif’s PML and Bilawal Bhutto’s PPP. Many of their family members live in Pakistan but they have given up all dreams of returning in the near future. Living in camps at Jaisalmer, Jodhpur and Jaipur, these Pakistani nationals are disappointed as none of the political parties have tried to contact them.

They are majorly disappointed with the fact that none of the political parties have given safety of minorities in Pakistan any priority in their manifestos.

Dr Bhagchand Bheel came to India on a 30-day religious visa in 2014 and is yet to return. “I have been following polls very minutely through social media but disheartened to see that none of the parties have had a word for us. They don’t care about us and they are very clear about it,” said Bheel, once PML party worker in Karachi.
He had left Pakistan after three bullets were pumped into his body in a hate crime. Living in a small village in Jodhpur, he misses his clinic in a posh locality in Karachi. “We can’t celebrate festivals and can’t send our children for education. Whoever wins (polls), it won’t affect us,” he said in a choked voice. The biggest contingent of 255 Pak nationals of the same clan who arrived in 2012 on a religious visa have been living in makeshift houses in Pabuji-Ka-Mandir area at Jodhpur.

The persecution of Hindus in Pakistan has forced them to plan a one-way visit to India. Despite six years in exile, the family has names of political leaders on their fingertips. Every day they update themselves on all political developments through social media but refrain to express their views fearing action from the Indian authorities.

Clan leader Chetan Kumar has his reasons to claim why Imran Khan will form a government in Pakistan. “I had even gone for door-to-door canvassing for Pakistan People’s Party candidate and mourned the killing of PPP leader Benazir Bhutto for days. But, the extremists after them left us with no option but to flee,” said Kumar. The clan hails from Hala town in Matiari district of Sindh.

TOI also spoke to Hindu families in Mirpur Khas, Tharparkar and Lahore who echoed similar concerns expressed by their counterparts in India. “It would be just another day for us and we have no hopes from any party,” said a native of Meerpur Khas, Pakistan, on the condition of anonymity. via TOI

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