KARACHI: In a historic development, the Indian government has reportedly revised the sponsorship policy for Pakistani Hindus and now the ashes of 426 cremated Hindus of Pakistan are expected to be immersed in the Ganges River in Haridwar, India, by their family members.
The move will also develop people-to-people (P2P) contact between the two countries. P2P is considered a useful diplomatic tool to ease tension and ensure peace in the region.
Since the partition of the Indian subcontinent back in 1947, Pakistan and India have not been able to enjoy good relations as close neighbors. Rather, they have fought three wars, and border clashes on several occasions during the last seven decades, resulting in the loss of precious lives on both sides (military and civilians) and the waste of public resources to the tune of billions of dollars.
According to a report published in Express Tribune, earlier the Modi government did not allow entry to Pakistani Hindu pilgrims without any sponsorship from India, but now New Delhi has indicated that a 10-day visa would be issued to the family members of a dead Hindu to travel to India to immerse the ashes of their loved ones in the Ganges River.
The ashes are currently kept at the Hindu temples and crematoriums in Karachi.
Entry into India was not allowed without a sponsor and a Pakistani Hindu could bring the ashes of a deceased relative to the river Ganges only if a relative or acquaintance living in India took responsibility.
In Karachi, Soldier Bazaar and Ranchore Line have sizable Hindu communities who have been living here since long before the Partition of the Subcontinent. Some estimates put their numbers between 100,000 and 150,000. Another nearly half a million Hindus live in Kunri, Nagarparkar, and Islamkot, in Tharparkar District, according to the ET report.
Since most Pakistani Hindus have no relatives in India, it was difficult to fulfill the last wish of the deceased person.
Pakistani Hindus will immerse the ashes of their 426 deceased relatives in the Ganges River in the Hindu religious city of Haridwar in India.
The last rites of these deceased Hindus have been performed in Pakistan. Their bones and ashes are kept in ‘Kalash’ (urns) in Hindu temples and crematoriums.