As support poured in for the Hindu community from all over Pakistan after the Ghotki unrest, right-leaning Urdu daily Ummat has blamed the victim itself for the tragedy.
A feature in Daily Ummat by Azmat Ali Rehmani claimed that the attacks on the Ghotki temples after an alleged case of blasphemy were, in fact, a conspiracy by the Hindus. It says Hindus, not Muslims were involved in rioting and vandalism at the temples. The newspaper alleged that MNA and Chairman Pakistan Hindu Council, Ramesh Kumar Vankwani hatched the entire conspiracy at the behest of Indian spy agency RAW to stoke communal riots in Pakistan.
Daily Ummat alleged that Ramesh Kumar was behind an ‘international conspiracy’ against Pakistan.
The featured alleged that Hindus aided by Sindhi nationalists vandalized the temples as well as a mosque in retaliation to the arrest of the Hindu principal allegedly involved in blasphemy. It said the authorities booked Muslims for attacking the temples but deliberately ignored the desecration of the mosque.
Daily Ummat carried provocative statements by Pir Abdul Haq alias Mian Mithoo and his son Mian Aslam, who are often alleged for forced conversion of minor Hindu girls and subsequent marriages with Muslim men.
Pir Mian Abdul Haq’s nephew Mian Javed told Ummat that Hindu MNA Ramesh Kumar Vankwani wants to trigger communal riots in the area at the behest of RAW.
Pir Abdul Haq alias-Mian Mithoo said; the law and order situation is not that bad as portrayed by Ramesh Kumar. Most of it is just propaganda, he added.
Pir Mian Mithoo’s son Mian Aslam told Ummat that some miscreants have vandalized a mosque in Mughal Mahallah of Ghotki and allegedly desecrated a Holy Quran.
Daily Ummat also quoted Mufti Tahir Makki of Tando Adam as saying; Vandalizing a temple is wrong but so is attacking a mosque. But our nationalists condemn temple attacks and keep mum over blasphemy against the Holy Prophet (PBUH).
Another feature in Daily Ummat reported that Pir Mian Mithoo has decide to sue MNA, Ramesh Kumar Vankwani for his alleged role in stoking unrest in Ghotki. The feature says Pir Mian Mithoo and other religious scholars declared Ramesh Kumar an Indian agent, and vowed to counter him for opposing the spread of Islam through ‘tableegh’. It said Ramesh Kumar maligned Pakistan by levelling allegations against Pir Abdul Haq and other religious scholars during his India visit.
The newspaper, however, did not carry the Hindu community’s version of the story or that of Ramesh Kumar Vankwani, agaisnt whom it levelled very serious allegations without any evidence. History is evident that such allegations can pose serious risks to his safety.
It is also worth noting that no other media house reported any attack on a mosque in the area.
Daily Ummat is well known for its tendency to compromise its objectivity and journalistic ethics for furthering its right wing agenda. The newspaper engaged in incessant propaganda against Aasia Bibi despite her acquittal from the Supreme Court of Pakistan. The newspaper also come down hard on religious minorities without any consideration for the consequences.
We expect objective and responsible reporting on sensitive and conflict related matters as this country has seen enough consequences of hate and bigotry.