Islamabad: Against the backdrop of reports about Hindus migrating to India due to forced conversions and kidnapping for ransom by criminal gangs, army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani on Tuesday said Pakistan was envisioned as a country where the life and property of all minorities would be safe.

In his Independence Day speech, Kayani said the purpose behind the creation of Pakistan was not only to carve out a piece of land but also to establish an Islamic welfare state where the foundation for a tolerant and modern society could be laid.

However, he noted that the latter part of the agenda of 1947 had not materialised so far. Though Kayani, who was speaking at the Azadi Parade at the Pakistan Military Academy in Kakul, made no mention of the controversy over the reported migration of Pakistani Hindus to India, the army chief said Pakistan was to be a country where the life and property of all minorities are safe and they could freely practise their faith.

Pakistan was rocked by a controversy last week over reports of dozens of Pakistani Hindu families migrating to India due to forced conversions, kidnapping for ransom and extortion demands from criminal gangs.

President Asif Ali Zardari formed a panel of three Parliamentarians to meet Hindus of Sindh to address their grievances. Immigration authorities last week detained some 250 Hindus travelling to India at the Wagah border following reports that they intended to migrate.

The Hindus were allowed across the frontier after leaders of the minority community gave an assurance that they were going to India for a pilgrimage.


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