Tag Archives: scheduled

Scheduled castes give voice to woes

SADIQABAD – Arjun Das Advocate, chairman of Pakistan Meghwar Council, has regretted that the representative of a caste having only 3,500 votes is present in the National Assembly but the scheduled castes which have 1.4 million votes has no representative in the assembly on the 10 seats reserved for minorities in Pakistan.

Likewise in Sindh province, 75 percent people of the minority belonged to the scheduled castes while their no representative is present in the Sindh Assembly and the same situation was in the Senate, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly and the Balochistan Assembly. He said that it was proved that the process of getting representatives from the minorities in the assemblies was non-democratic, discriminatory and unjust. Therefore, he demanded, the method should be changed immediately. He also said that the communities’ members belonged to their respective parties and they do not represent the public thus they had no courage to raise a voice for the communities’ welfare nor they could heel their wounds by solving their problems.

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The fading soul of Pakistan’s diversity – By Zeba T.Hashmi

Around the Lahore Central Railway Station, narrow alleys are like a maze, with hotels and restaurants for passengers coming in from across the country. The visitors from Cholistan were staying in one such building. Their common attire said nothing about their significance. The assertiveness is in their eyes spoke of the hardships they face in the middle of the uninhabited deserts. Through the music they make, they bring their world to life with songs of love, mysticism and sad partings.

A group of singers from the Bheel community were my hosts in one of the rundown hotels where they were staying. A few moments after I entered the room and greeted them, there was music all around, the sadness of the room shattered by the elaborate melodies they made from the stringed Yaktara and the colorful Raanti instruments. Such was the beauty I found in that tiny, unfamiliar room that came to life with music and lively stories, in spite of interruptions by the hotel manager who kept asking us to tone it down.

The members of the Hindu Bheel community are mostly landless, and they are known for their melodies and beautiful traditional musical instruments, ornamented by elaborately embroidered bright colored fabrics. They make their stringed instruments with animal hides and wood, hollowed pipes that are magic for the ear. They are known for their distinctive voice quality and the art of story-telling. Their women wear glass bangles all over their arms and wear colorful Cholis and Ghagharas.

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Dalit women in Pakistan – denied a life in dignity and respect

A new report documents the situation of Pakistan’s Dalit women; one of the most socially excluded and impoverished sections of the population. The shadow report for a UN CEDAW review of Pakistan in February calls on the Government to focus on education, access to basic services, and laws and special programmes to protect the rights of Dalit women.

For the first time, a report to a UN treaty body committee specifically addresses the situation of Dalit women in Pakistan. The report finds that these women are triple victims of discrimination – due to caste, gender and religion.

The report ‘SCHEDULED CASTE WOMEN IN PAKISTAN – Denied a life in dignity and respect’ has been prepared by the Pakistan Dalit Solidarity Network in association with IDSN for the examination of Pakistan by the UN Committee on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). The review is scheduled to take place in Geneva on 12 February 2013.

In Pakistan, Dalits (officially known as ‘scheduled castes’) experience multiple forms of discrimination among the country’s 180 million people. Already considered a religious minority in an Islamic society, Dalit Hindus and Christians are further victimized as ‘untouchable’ by the rest of the society and their own communities.

The situation of Dalit women is even worse due to the discrimination they face on the basis of caste and gender. They are extremely vulnerable to social exclusion, and are often subject to severe discrimination and physical assaults.

Dalit women are marginalised due to their weak socio-economic status, low education levels, and their location in harsh conditions of work – such as bonded labour, cotton picking and working in brick kilns. In the rural provinces of Pakistan, the majority of bonded labourers come from a scheduled caste background. Rape of female bonded labourers is widespread, and there is little legal recourse to address the problem.

Sexual abuse and kidnappings are some of the worst problems for Dalit women and girls in Pakistan. Ms. Radha Bhil, a Dalit woman working as a social mobilizer, says: “Women and girls from the lower caste or religious minority are easy targets for harassment, because the majority knows that they are weak and cannot take any action.”

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Flood relief by caste, creed!?

– By Zofeen T. Ebrahim

Excerpt;

…. But, Ram saw something in the camps which left him disturbed. “The school I teach in has been turned into a camp for the flood-affected people, but when three Hindu families from the Kohli caste sought refuge there, they were denied it.

When the Kohli families insisted on staying, one of the men from the displaced Muslim community began contemptuously urinating in full view of the Kohli women and they had little choice but to leave,” said Ram. “They treat dogs better than they treat us human beings,” said Ram in anger and helplessness.

Moolchand Sakromal, a Hindu government official who tried to give refuge to the Kohlis, says low-caste Hindus are probably the “most neglected” of Pakistan’s minorities.

“It’s a double whammy for them – they are poor and then they belong to the scheduled caste,” says Vikio Rajwani, a Hindu and head master at the government primary school. …

To read full report → DAWN.COM