Hindus in Pakistan approach Indian, US missions for help

With no let up in crimes against Hindus in Mirpurkhas area of Pakistan’s Sindh province from where nearly 20 families have left the country, the minority community leaders from the region have approached the Indian and US missions for help. The Hindu community in Mirpurkhas and its surrounding areas is being targeted by criminals day in and day out and police were paying no heed to their plight, Hindu Panchayat chairman Laxmandas Perwani said.

Hindu families were left with no option but to leave Pakistan and at least 18 families had migrated, a majority of them to India and some to Dubai, during the past five months, Perwani told Geo News channel. During the same period, the homes of 70 Hindu families in Mirpurkhas and nearby areas were burgled, he said. Two youths were killed for not paying extortion money and two kidnapped businessmen were freed after they paid millions of rupees as ransom, he added.

With no let up in the incidents in which Hindus were targeted, members of the Hindu Panchayat sent letters to the Indian High Commission and the US embassy, seeking their help, he said. Perwani, a former member of the Sindh Assembly, said the step of writing to foreign missions was taken after the police and politicians did not pay heed to the grievances of the Hindus. The kidnapping of a 14-year-old Hindu girl, Manisha Kumari, from Jacobabad in Sindh on August 7 sparked widespread concern in the minority community.

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Iran struggles after quakes – Part Two

(Continued from Part One)

Most patients had been taken there by their families, he said, indicating a shortage of ambulances. Ahar’s 120-bed hospital was full, said Arash, a college student and resident of the town. There were traffic jams on the narrow road between Ahar and Tabriz as victims tried to reach hospitals, he said by telephone. “People are scared and won’t go back into their houses because they fear the buildings aren’t safe.” The US Geological Survey measured Saturday’s first quake at 6.4 magnitude and said it stuck 60km north-east city of Tabriz, a trading hub far from Iran’s oil-producing areas and known nuclear facilities.

The second, measuring 6.3, struck 11 minutes later near Varzaghan, 49km north-east of Tabriz. Twelve villages were destroyed and about 60 had more than 50% damage in the quakes, Iranian media reported. About 110 villages were damaged, Deputy interior minister Hassan Ghadami told Fars news agency. Ghadami said 250 people had been killed and Red Crescent spokesman Hossein Derakhshan told Fars more than 2,000 people were believed to have been injured.

“We saw some villages that were truly destroyed,” said Sadati, who visited the affected area to document the aftermath. “One good thing was that the earthquake happened during the day, so many people were not in their homes. If it had happened at night, the casualties would have been far worse.” Seventy-one ambulances and forty units trained to find survivors had been deployed to the affected areas along with more than 5,000 tents, Derakshan said. About 16,000 people in the quake-hit area have been given emergency shelter. Red Crescent official Mahmoud Mozafar told Mehr news agency.

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