According to this year's census, there are no Jews in Pakistan - Reuters reports. Yet three years ago, 10 Jews admitted to living in that country. Where have they all gone? Or did they ever exist in the first place? (With thanks: Jonathan)
ISLAMABAD, Jan 25 (Reuters) - The Pakistan government census on civil servants raised curiosity on Thursday about one of the Islamic Republic's smallest and most low-profile religious minorities -- the Jews.
The 2003 census, released on a government Web site last week, showed none of the 234,933 government employees declared themselves to be Jews, though 10 had done so in the previous census three years earlier.
"Whatever happened to the 10 Jew civil servants?," read a headline in The News daily,
But, for many people the real news was that there were still any Jews living in
Even a former minister for religious minorities was taken aback that there were Jews in the country. "I never thought there were Jews in
"I was also surprised to see the report that there were Jews in the government service, also."
Officials who conducted the census couldn't say whether the Jews had retired, converted, migrated, died, or simply chose to mark themselves in an "Other Religions" category.
The census depended on what answers respondents submitted, and Jews might have chosen not to disclose their religion.
"In the latest census, they might not have indicated their religion. If it is not there, it will not reflect in the census," Saeed-un-Nisa Abbasi, of the Establishment Division, which looks after civil service affairs, told Reuters.
The existence of Jews in
The number of Jews living in
There were a couple of thousand Jews living in
A 55-year-old woman, who converted to Islam from Judaism when she married, remembered attending services at a synagogue in
The woman, who asked not to be named, says all of her relatives have migrated to
"I have been separated from them for a long time," she said. A commercial plaza now stands where the synagogue used to be, she added.