Islamist Mob Attacks Hindu Temple After Alleged Blasphemy
Incidents like this are relatively common, as religious sensibilities run high in the conservative country.
The timing of the attack is sensitive, as it is the eve of the Hindu festival of Holi. The attack took place in Larkana in Sindh province.
About 200 people formed a mob and attacked the temple and the adjoining guesthouse after a rumor spread that some people had seen burned pages of the Qu'ran in a bin outside a Hindu man's house.
The mob demanded that the man be handed over to them, and went on the rampage, vandalizing the temple and torching the guesthouse.
Police were called in and had to fire on the crowd with teargas to disperse it.
In neighboring areas other Hindu houses were attacked. A curfew has been put in place, and police and special rangers have been called in to guard Hindu temples.
Meanwhile a committee has been set up to probe the incident, comprising of representatives from the Muslim and Hindu communities. The chief of the Pakistan Ulema Council issued a statement condemning the incident, saying that it was the duty of the state to protect religious minorities, and that not to do so was a failure of government.
Hindus comprise an estimated 1.7% of Pakistan's population, and are mostly concentrated in the Sindh province.
Hindus have faced systematic discrimination over the years, including beatings and forced conversions, and many feel that they are treated as second class citizens.