Karachi, Jan 21 (ANI): The ashes of about 130 Pakistani Hindus are gathering dust in what was once the Karachi library, as they wanted to achieve salvation by Having their remains immersed in the River Ganges.
Ayaz Baloch, the caretaker of a largely deserted cremation ground in Karachi, said the remains of about 130 minority Hindus are gathering dust due to the strained ties between India and Pakistan in wake of the Mumbai terror attacks.
"It started more than 30 years ago and area's Muslim poor have kept watch over the ashes for decades," says Mohammed Pervez, a guard at the facility in Karachi's oldest slum Golimar.
"These pots started piling up as the dead had asked in their wills that their ashes be immersed in the Ganges river, but their families could not get visas from India and left them here in trust," Dawn quoted him, as saying.
Three decades on, with relations again tense between the neighbours in the wake of the attacks on Mumbai, the urns are still here.
The dead are now in danger of being lost and forgotten as the identification tags on the urns have started to fade, prompting the caretakers to launch a frantic search for the families of the deceased.
Mohandas, who asked that only his first name be used to protect his family's privacy, said he was astonished to finally find the remains of his uncle Vishnu, who died in 1979, at the Karachi facility.
"We came here to find him, but it was nearly impossible. The writing on many of the tags has completely disappeared, especially on the older containers," he said.
"My father tried hard to fulfil the last wish of his older brother, but could not get an Indian visa. My father also wanted to be immersed in the Ganges after his death but seeing how difficult it is, he changed his mind," Mohandas said.
Hindus believe the immersion of human remains in the Ganges, which flows from the Himalayas to the Bay of Bengal, leads to salvation for the soul.
Pakistan's Hindus, who make up only about two per cent of the overwhelmingly Muslim country's population of 160 million, usually immerse the remains of their dead in the Indus or the Arabian Sea. (ANI)