Imran Khan’s ‘Holi mubarak’ meets Ashoke Pandit’s ‘stop playing Holi with blood’

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Imran Khan

In this post: 1. Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan’s congratulatory message to Hindus on the occasion of Holi
2. Bollywood producer Ashoke Pandit’s reaction
3. The plight of Hindus in Pakistan

New Delhi: On Thursday when Imran Khan greeted the Hindu community on Twitter on the occasion of Holi, co-producer of The Accidental Prime Minister Ashoke Pandit shot back, urging Pakistan’s Prime Minister to stop playing Holi with the blood of the innocent.

The Pakistani Prime Minister had tweeted this morning, “Wishing our Hindu community a very happy and peaceful Holi, the festival of colours.”

In Urdu, Khan wrote, “ہماری ہندو برادری کو امن و مسرت سے مزین ہولی کا رنگوں بھرا تہوار مبارک۔ (hamaari Hindu biraadari ko aman o masarrat se muzayyan Holi ka rangon bhara tyohar mubarak — Wishing our Hindu brethren an elegant Holi, the festival of colours, full of peace and happiness)”

The tweets of Imran Khan went viral on social media. The message in English elicited 7,300 retweets while that in Urdu got 2,600 RTs at the time of reporting.

According to Internet archives, Hindus comprise approximately 1.85% of Pakistan’s population. But according to the Pakistan Hindu Council, Hindus comprise 4% of the population.

There has been a historical decline of Hinduism, Buddhism and Sikhism in the areas of Pakistan.

Many reports, such as one by Riaz Sohail of the BBC on 2 March 2007, say Hindus in Pakistan complain that they are treated as second-class citizens and that many continue to migrate to India.

According to the data of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, around 1,000 Hindu families fled to India in 2013. In May 2014, Ramesh Kumar Vankwani of the then ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) said in the National Assembly of Pakistan that around 5,000 Hindus migrated from Pakistan to India every year.

According to the article, “Why Pakistani Hindus leave their homes for India” on BBC News, Pakistani Hindus who have migrated to India allege that Hindu girls are sexually harassed in Pakistani schools. They say Hindu students are forced to read the Qur’an and their religious practices are mocked.

But Ashoke Pandit wrote on Twitter addressing Prime Minister Imran Khan, picking a recent atrocious act by Pakistan or the terrorists it sponsors: “Stop playing Holi with blood of our soldiers on your hands and then wish us. #PulwamaAttack.”

Ashoke Pandit’s angry reaction, recalling the Pulwama attack, to Imran Khan’s tweets is not surprising. Pandit is quite active on social media. He openly voices his views on social issues on news television channels as well. He is also a supporter of the current government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He wishes that Modi gets a second term.

Earlier in the day, Pandit had tweeted, “असली होली तो हम २३ मय को मनाएँगे जब एक आवाज़ पूरे देश में गूँजेगी ‘ मैं नरेंद्र दमोरदास मोदी शपथ लेता हूँ ….’ #HappyHoli. #HoliMubarak. (asli Holi to ham 23 May ko manaayenge jab ek aawaaz poore desh men goonjegiMain Narendra Damodardas Modi shapath leta hoon’ — The real Holi will be celebrated on 23 May when a sound reverberates across the country, ‘I, Narendra Damodardas Modi, swear’)”