Hindu American Foundation, American Jewish Committee Condemn References to Hindus and Jews in Pakistani Military Pamphlet
SAN FRANCISCO, Ca (April 3, 2006) – The Hindu American Foundation (HAF) and the American Jewish Committee (AJC) today condemned the references to Hindus and Jews in a pamphlet airdropped by the Pakistani military. The Reuters news agency reported that the pamphlets, which were airdropped over tribal regions near the Afghan border, warned tribesmen that “foreign terrorists” operating in the region were part of a Hindu and Jewish plot and therefore were posing threats to Pakistan's integrity and tribal society.
The Urdu and Pashto language pamphlets, titled “Warning” and signed “Well Wishers, Pakistan's Armed Forces”, were dropped over major towns in the Waziristan province as part of a campaign to flush out Taliban and al Qaeda militants living among the tribesmen. The Reuters report said that although military spokesman Major-General Shaukat Sultan said he could not confirm that pamphlets were sponsored by the Pakistani military, local residents said that they saw military aircraft scattering the pamphlets over their neighborhoods.
“Although we support the objective of drawing the local populace away from supporting the Taliban and Al Qaeda, we are concerned about the outright falsehood contained in the pamphlet, which suggests that foreign militants in the region were fighting in connivance with Jews and Hindus”, said Ernest H. Weiner, Executive Director of the Northern California Region of the American Jewish Committee. “With local events having a global impact as illustrated by the controversy over the Danish cartoons, this could further inflame sentiments against Hindus and Jews, who already bear the brunt of substantial terrorist violence in India and Israel”.
The pamphlets accusations are not entirely new. In March 2004, a spokesman for Lashkar-e-Toiba, one of the Pakistan-based terror groups operating in Kashmir was quoted in Greater Kashmir newspaper saying, “…..Yahud (Jews) and Hanood (Hindus) are two sides of the same coin.”
“Not only do such pamphlets promote hate on Hindus and Jews, who have nothing to do with the extremism in Pakistan, it also calls into question Pakistan’s commitment to the ongoing two-year peace process with India and recent diplomatic initiatives with Israel”, said Swaminathan Venkataraman, Executive Council Member of the Hindu American Foundation. “The reference to Jews and Hindus is all the more disturbing since Pakistan’s President Pervez Musharraf is also the chief of Pakistan’s armed forces.”
HAF and AJC call upon the Pakistani military to withdraw the pamphlets and publicly dissociate itself from its contents. President Musharraf’s promise to modernize his nation cannot be fulfilled until he flushes out the Taliban and al Qaeda militants and deals with the anti-Semitism and Hinduphobia which one finds in segments of Pakistani society.