Twenty-seven Hindu families from Pakistan's Balochistan province have approached the Indian high commission in Islamabad for political asylum after a series of kidnappings and killings that targeted the minority community, an official has said.
Saeed Ahmed Khan, a regional director for the federal Human Rights Ministry, made the revelation while addressing a seminar on the unrest in Balochistan in provincial capital Quetta on Saturday.
"As many as 27 Hindu families from Balochistan have sent applications to the Indian (High Commission) for asylum in India," he told the seminar that was attended by leaders of political parties and representatives of civil society groups.
In the latest incident targeting the minority community in Balochistan, unidentified men abducted 82-year-old spiritual leader Maharaja Luckmi Chand Garji and four of his companions on Wednesday.
Three of the men were freed later though Garji is yet to be traced. A strike was observed in Khuzdar and nearby areas this week to protest Garji's abduction.
The strike was called by the All Parties Shehri Action Committee, Balochistan National Party, Anjuman-e-Tajiran or traders' association and Baloch Students Organisation.
Khan told the seminar that Hindus had been living in Balochistan for centuries but several members of the community had been kidnapped or murdered in recent weeks.
This, he contended, was forcing Hindus to seek asylum in India. This was a matter of "great concern" and the government should take immediate measures to improve the law and order situation in Balochistan, Khan said.
According to the Human Rights Ministry's statistics, there has been widespread violation of rights and abduction for ransom in Balochistan.
Baloch nationalist groups too have protested against the arrest and detention of their members without charge. Hazara Democratic Party chairman Abdul Khaliq Hazara said over 100 groups involved in kidnappings for ransom were operating in Balochistan.