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Friday, January 21, 2022

70% of all forcible conversion victims are underage girls: Pakistan

Minority councilors have voiced their concerns regarding the lack of protection extended to religious minorities by the state. This is a concerning upwards trend that demands from the government the introduction of new legislation that will actually pass through parliamentary committees, unlike the previous ones, reports Pakistani portal The Nation.

The article adds that 70% of all forcible conversion (to Islam) victims were underage girls. Every year, at least 1000 girls (mostly Hindu and some Christians) are abducted, raped, forcibly converted to Islam and ‘married off’ to much older men, often in Sufi dargahs like Barchundi Shareef located in Ghotki, Sindh by the notorious Mian Mithoo. This is a conservative figure based on reported abduction cases, actual count is feared to be much higher by human rights activists.

Given how minorities are subjugated in all other realms of life, the least that can be done is to safeguard their religious freedoms and identity, the article adds more in hope than anything else. It adds –

“There seem to be no measures taken in order to protect them from this criminal practice. Just recently, two Hindu girls—aged 13 and 19—along with a teenage Christian girl were kidnapped and married off to 40-year-old men after having changed their faith. This prompted a large demonstration in Hyderabad which was aimed at creating awareness about such violations that thrive under the public and state’s radar.

What makes matters worse is that there is no law that prevents this from occurring. The Prohibition of Forced Conversion Act of 2021 was prepared and introduced to the parliament only to have been rejected because ‘it would create further problems for minorities’. What these problems were and why they were more pertinent than their religious identity were questions that were never answered. From their perspective, it feels as though the government has abandoned its duties towards them and show little regard for their safety.

These are grave human rights violations—both the forced conversions and underage marriages that follow—which must be dealt with through proper laws that prohibit both. Furthermore, councils should be set up to verify, in instances of religious conversion, whether an individual is acting autonomously or under duress. Pakistan is already a dangerous home for minorities and issues like forced conversions only make it all the more hostile.”

The large demonstration referred to above was carried out by human rights activists and members of the minority communities in different cities in Pakistan’s Sindh province to mark International Human Rights Day which falls on December 10.

Protestors marched against forced conversions and the arbitrary detention of Sindhi nationalist leaders who raise their voice against state repression and barbarism in the province.

In Jacobabad, the rally raised slogans against forced conversions. Speaking to the participants and local reporters, Jawahir Singh, Burner B. Newton alias Tony, Shalo Ram, Lachman Das and others claimed that cases of forced conversion of Hindu girls in Jacobabad district and its surrounding areas had been on the rise for quite some time. They expressed their concern that underage girls and young women of the Hindu community are being targeted for forced conversions. “Our religious beliefs must be respected for the sake of brotherhood and harmony between Muslims and all minorities including Hindu, Christian and Sikh communities,” they said.

However, these gross human rights violations of Pakistani Hindus are still not given their due in India’s English language media. While the more egregious atrocities are now at least being reported, there is still an air of scepticism as can be seen in this headline of news agency ANI, where ‘forced’ is marked in scare quotes, implying that ANI is not convinced that the conversions taking place are indeed forced.

So deep-roooted is the Hinduphobia of the secular Indian state and all its institutions, that it hesitates in even openly criticizing a terror-sponsoring, Islamofascist country like Pakistan. Such reporting, our left-liberal elites claim, will polarize the atmosphere and fuel ‘Hindu stereotypes about Pakistani Muslims’. So what if a few 1000 Hindu girls have to be sacrificed to maintain the facade of a benign and ‘people like us’ Pakistani society.

Meanwhile, the slow genocide of Pakistani Hindus unfolds a little more with each passing day:

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