Multan, Pakistan (CHAKRA) – Hindu’s in Pakistan celebrated Holi like many of the worlds Hindu community did for one of the biggest Hindu festivals of the year but while the celebrations happened most Hindus had to go to work without the option of having a public holiday.
While most employers are flexible about giving days off on holidays, and the government allows a certain number of religious holidays, taking a leave of absence for a day was not an option open to any of the Hindu employees in Pakistan.
Shankuntala, whose husband works for a government office in Multan, stated her lament about minorities in the country not having equal rights and thus being able to take a day off on their religious holidays. She said that minorities in Pakistan do not have the same rights as the majority population in Pakistan.
Over seven million Hindus live in Pakistan, according to the 2011 Pakistan Hindu Councils statistics. This number is almost double the number of Christians living in the country who enjoy the right of a day off on Christmas every year.
Hindus on the other hand, live in fear because even though the constitution says religious minorities should enjoy the same rights as their majority counterpart, no Hindu can stand up to the injustice they face solely due to fear.
The head of state sends out greeting messages to the public for Eid and Christmas but no such greeting is ever made out for Hindu religious celebrations.
Students and school teachers who are Hindu never get to enjoy the celebrations because there is no public holiday in schools. Thus overtime children start to lose their culture and roots because they are not able to participate in important festivals such as Holi, says Shankuntala.