In the last few days, three prominent cases of girls from minority communities being forcefully converted to Islam have surfaced in Pakistan. These girls, hailing from Sikh, Hindu and Christian families, have highlighted the deep-rooted problem in the country, which has continued for decades now, prominently in Sindh and Punjab provinces. A problem that is clearly not a priority for the Imran Khan-led government.
Prime Minister Imran Khan is struggling to fulfil his grand campaign promises of making Pakistan a pluralistic society. Is saying that forced conversions are “un-Islamic” enough or can the beleaguered minorities expect a bit more from their PM?
After all, the Pakistan Prime Minister is leading a moral crusade of sorts against the Narendra Modi government’s treatment of Muslims and other minorities in India, especially after the abrogation of Article 370 in J&K.
While pointing fingers at India, Imran Khan can also consider raising voice for the minorities in his own country – that would be a good policy too. Khan did say that he will show Modi how to treat religious minorities.
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A textbook conversion case
In the last few weeks, a Sikh girl was allegedly abducted and forced to marry a Muslim man and then sent back to her parents; a 15-year-old Christian student was forcibly converted to Islam; and a Hindu girl studying BBA was taken to a PTI worker’s house and forced to convert and marry a Muslim.
In Pakistan, there is no law banning forced conversions. It is a religious issue with no political party willing to legislate against it, which is the state’s biggest failure.
When Jagjit Kaur, a 16-year-old Sikh girl from Nankana Sahab in Lahore returned home last month, her family heaved a sigh of relief.
Like a textbook conversion case, the girl was kidnapped at gunpoint, forcibly converted, married to a Muslim man and when the family filed a case against the perpetrators, the girl gave a ‘false’ statement in the court under duress.
Jagjit’s kidnapping brought much embarrassment to the Pakistani government because the Indian Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh took up the issue publicly. This made the Pakistan Punjab chief minister Usman Buzdar form an inquiry committee to investigate what happened. No one knows what the findings of that committee were or who was reprimanded.
The governor of Punjab Chaudhry Mohammad Sarwar reached what we know as an ‘amicable’ resolution with the girl’s family and the alleged kidnapper, with the father of the kidnapper in a video saying he won’t press for the girl’s custody. In which civilised country can those who abduct and convert a girl on gunpoint stand tall like this, but in Pakistan.
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Waiting for justice
However, this is not the first and definitely not the last time this kind of ‘justice’ has been served. While the parents of a girl from the minority community are only relieved to have her back, everyone moves on to the next case.
Hindu girl Renuka Kumari, who was allegedly abducted from Sukkur in Sindh and forcibly converted by her Muslim classmate, was released to her parents when she told the court that she wanted to go home with them. Again, no action was taken against the alleged perpetrators of the crime.
In another similar instance, 15-year-old Christian girl Faiza Mukhtar’s parents in Sheikhupura, Punjab, await justice as their child was abducted and forcibly converted at a madrassa. The family is now facing pressure from the local Islamist groups to either convert or forget their child.
Who to blame?
The issue of forced conversions of young Hindu and Christian girls has persisted in Pakistan for decades now.
These conversions are rampant in Sindh where thousands of girls from Hindu families are picked and converted with impunity, according to the annual report of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan. It is no secret that the dargahs and madrassas in the area work as Islamic conversion factories. And, the perpetrators and the pirs of the shrines always have political backing.
The blame must clearly rest with the state because there are no laws against forced religious conversions.
The government of Sindh backtracked on the anti-conversion bill, which was passed by the Sindh assembly in November 2016. The bill made conversion under the age of 18 a punishable offence even if any person converts out of his/her own choice. Religious parties protested against the bill and called it ‘anti-Islam’. They said that the Council of Islamic Ideology should be consulted before any such legislation is moved.
In March, Sindh assembly member Nand Kumar tabled a new bill against the conversions – the Criminal Law (Protection of Minorities) Act of 2019. Within weeks, religious groups threatened protests, and leading the charge was the notorious Pir Mian Abdul Khaliq of Bharchoondi Sharif, popularly known as Mian Mithoo, the man behind several cases of conversions.
Sindh has a marriage law, which sets the marriageable age at 18 and above, but when it comes to marriages of Hindu girls, this law is never implemented. The much-hyped case of sisters Raveena and Reena Meghwar is an example of that. Both girls were minors, 12 and 15, yet their marriages were considered legal and the law wasn’t implemented. In March, Imran Khan ordered action and inquiry against the culprits in the Raveena-Reena case, but nothing has come out of it so far.
Forced conversion of young girls is the worst form of persecution that marginalised minorities face in Pakistan.
Imagine one day your daughter is abducted, next you know she has a different name, you can’t meet her, and she is as good as dead to you. But even death gives you closure. There is no closure in forced conversions. Even the ones who are lucky to return to their families live with the trauma and shame of rape.
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The author is a freelance journalist from Pakistan. Her Twitter handle is @nailainayat. Views are personal.
Converting an infidel is a religious duty of the Muslims , says their holy book.
Imran Khan should stop lecturing Modi on minorities… but it doesn’t mean Modi do not require a lecture on protecting minorities, he certainly needs one
Modi has done nothing to harm minorities and this is a false propaganda by some opposition parties in India and foreign media . There was a false propaganda against Modi on Gujarat riots but India has faced worst riots in 1947 in which 2 million people died and 15 million became refugees.
Indeed!! And Along With 1947, Who Instigated The Cause Anti Hindu Riots In Calcutta?? Ye!! Pork Eating, Good Muslim Jinnah!!
There Are 100+ Islamic & Christian States On The Globe!!
One Hindu Nation India Will Do No Harm With Tolerance For Non-Indic Religions!! Period!!
As Far As Modi & Hindu Tolerance Is Concerned, They Don’t Need Lessons From Pakistan & Any Of The Christo-Islamic Fascists & Leftists!!
Hindus Even Carve Dr. Abdul Kalam Statue In A Hindu Temple!!
Unbelievable! Hindu Acceptance Of Others!! Can Muslims & Christians Do The Same For Hindus?? These Are Real Hindus & Real India!
Christianity & Islam, religions so brazenly fraudulent can’t survive for long in this day and age!! Christians Even adopted the saffron colour
#LeftLibtards, Now Will find many virtues But This Was Done To Convert Poor Hindus!!
Only China knows how to handle this Christo-Islamic virus!! Bring a strong anti conversion laws, ban foreign missionaries from
entering India & stop planting of churches in one fierce stroke.
Christianity, Islam & communism fall in The same universality class.For all 3, propaganda is best weapon that transforms midgets into divinity. Jesus was crucified at 33 for treason, Mo’mad was bloody
killer. All 3 feed on mentally & financially lumpen & have so far not fully successful in India.
This should not be called conversion.
It’s abduction, false imprisonment and rape. Serious criminal offences, the police must act.
As a Pakistani I am deeply ashamed this is happening.
Both the RSS and these Mullahs have no place in a decent society.
The Chinese have got it right with the eradication of this Islamic superstition
We have to find a way to deal with Islamic superstition in Pakistan
And Hindu superstition in India.
These things have no place in a modern scientific world
What RSS has got to do with what is happening in Pakistan? Has RSS abducted any non-Hindu girl and and married her to a Hindu man? Stop this hipocracy of equating Pakistanis with Indians and RSS.
You are yet another dishonest and hypocrite Paki. Is there any other kind? I don’t think so. Your fake sympathy is exposed by your feeble attempt to lie and indulge in false propaganda.
Sure, in India Muslim girls get kidnapped, raped and converted to Hindu girls. Done by RSS. All the time.
Even in this horrible situation you are looking for equivalence with India! So understand a simple thing- none of this sustained rape/kidnapping/forcible conversion atrocity that happens to minorities in Pakistan can EVER happen in India. Simply because Indians themselves will strenuously oppose it. Not like you Pakistanis, who support it in the name of your religion
Ye!! Protect EVIL Pakistani Islamist’s By Bringing In RSS, A Nationalist Oranization!! When Did RSS Do Genocide Of Millions Of Muslims & Hindus As Did Pakistan At Home & In Bangladesh??!!
Hindus Carve Dr. Abdul Kalam Statue In Hindu Temple!! Unbelievable! Hindu Acceptance Of Others!! Can Muslims/Islam & Pakistan Do The Same For Hindus?? These Are Real Hindus & Real India!
Whitewashing Pakistan’s Talibanization Won’t Help!! Blaming RSS Won’t Either!!
#KSM Khalid Sheikh Mohammed 9/11 architect, Pakistani #OBL Osama trained, grew into a jihadi & killed in Pakistan. Taliban/Terrorists have sanctuary in Pakistan. They kill Indians, British, Americans, Afghans, then hide in Pakistan. Terrorists produce,
develop suicide bombs & train bombers in Pakistan!!
Islamic Pakistan Is A FRAUD!! It’s A Corrupt Narcotics & Jihadi
Infested EVIL Military Mafia State!! They Make A FOOL Of Muslims Selling Islam As A Candy Which Will Cure All Ills Of Pakistani Society!! That Stupid Imran Khan Roams With Prayer Beads To Project Himself As A Pious Muslim!! Yet!! Imran Khan Is The Poster Boy Of All
What Is WRONG With Pakistan, Islam & Muslims!! The Same Imran Khan Used To Play “Playboy” In London For The Glory Of Islam??!! This ISLAMIC Pakistan Is Also The Number 1 Consumer Of Pornographic Sites On The Globe!! Is This For The Glory Of Islam & Muslims??!!
Institutionalized Abuse Of Children By Both Males & Females To Satisfy Their Sexual Urge Thanks To ISLAMIC LAWS In Pakistan!! This Is What Is Islam & Pakistan Today!!
Everybody has the right to convert either in India or in Pakistan. To any religion.
Anybody has the right to propagate his ideas regarding any religion, it is a matter of freedom of speech.
But conversion must be an entirely voluntary exercise.
All adults are deemed to be mature people, able to take their decisions on which faith to choose after listing to preachers etc.
Conversion is a matter of choice between an individual and his right of any belief under the Sun.
This is not a religious matter, it is a temporal matter and a question of civil liberties and rights of an individual.
No third-party can arbitrarily decide ‘religion or belief’ on anybody’s behalf.
a person has the right to leave Islam if he wishes to.
A person has a right to leave Hinduism if you wishes to.
But why Muslim can’t leave Islam?
STOP Your Hypocrisy!! If Pakistan Was Even Remotely Secular, It Wouldn’t Have Killed & Converted Millions Of Hindus!! While Muslims Population Exploded In India Like Pig Puppies, Hindus Have Almost Disappeared In Pakistan & On The Path In Islamic Bangladesh!!
Islam Is A Mental Disease As Great Brother Of Pakistan, China & It’s President Xi Has Said!! Yet!! Islam Fails To Reform!!
Leave Aside, Hindus, Even Muslims Aren’t Safe Is This Islamic Shit Hole Of Pakistan!! See EVIL Intent Of Islam: Even Indian Muslims in Mumbai celebrate #Pakistan’s law that declares Ahmadi Muslims as ‘non-Muslims’!!. The Pakistani law being celebrated by these Mumbai Muslims states, whoever believes in a Prophet [after Muhammad] is an apostate and should be put to death.”
Pakistani Thug, Corrupt Military With No Fighting Capability, Despised By Pakistanis & EXPOSED By Pakistani PM Imran Khan!!
A Woman, Syeda Zainab, challenged the EVIL ruler, Yazid, after he mercilessly killed the entire family of Muhammad’s grandson Hussain and his companions!! Today’s Islam Gives No Voice To Women!! This Is The Reason For The The MESS & VIOLENCE In Islam & Pakistan!!
Why we are giving so much importance to Pakistan and their heads/leaders. We should concentrate on our own backyard.
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