Human shield to protect Hindus celebrating Holi in Pakistan

Islamabad: A human shield was formed at the Holi celebrations at Swami Narayan Temple in Karachi to show solidarity with and protect Hindus in attendance.

The National Student's Federation (NSF) organised the formation of a human shield on Friday, the demonstration is an attempt to promote interfaith coexistence and cooperation among different religious and ethnic groups in Pakistan, Dawn reported.

The NSF leveraged social media to spread information about the event, extending e-vitiations to others who share their outlook on religious tolerance and wish to participate in the demonstration.

A member of the NSF describes it as a "progressive leftist organisation" dating back to the NSF of the Ayub Khan era - former president of Pakistan.

A member of the NSF, Fawwad Hasan, said, "When we showed solidarity with Shias at the Imambargah, Jaipaal Chhabria a doctor by profession joined us and stood alongside us so it's only fair that as a group, we extend the same courtesy to all Hindus in Pakistan who face a lot of prosecution of different kinds."

He cited the desecration of Hindu temples, forcible religious conversion of girls against their will, and suppression of culture and religious practices as reasons for showing solidarity with and protecting Hindus.

"We are not religious fundamentalists who take religion into our own hands, that is not what we do," he explained.

"Society as a whole has to show change and be a part of that change. If you don't stand up for someone else's rights today, tomorrow you will also be targeted and there will be no one to stand up for your rights."

These sentiments are echoed by the NSF which seeks to disrupt a narrative of government apathy concerning religious minorities.

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