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Saturday, July 20, 2024

Imran Khan finally admits that Hindu girls are abducted and forcefully converted to Islam in Pakistan

Pakistan’s former prime minister Imran Khan has admitted that forced conversions of young non-Muslim girls are carried out in the country.

While addressing a minority convention, the cricketer-turned-politician on Thursday condemned the forced conversions of Hindu girls to Islam in Sindh. He went on to a quote a verse from the Quran to claim that such coercion is not allowed in Islam.

This is the first time that any senior Pakistani politician has commented on the issue of forceful conversions in Pakistan. Imran Khan is currently making a desperate attempt to come back to power after being unseated in a no-confidence motion which he alleged was stage-managed by USA and Pakistani Army. Last month, his PTI party won most of the seats in by-elections for the Punjab Assembly.

The practice of abducting, raping, forcefully converting and marrying non-Muslim girls off to their Muslim abductors has a well-established pattern all across Pakistan, and has been institutionalised by political-religious figures like Mian Mithoo, pir (religious head) of the Bharchundi Sharif dargah in Ghotki district, Sindh. Mithoo has been a legislator with the ‘liberal’ PPP party (controlled by Bhutton clan) and was even in talks with Imran Khan for an election ticket at one point.

Pakistani courts and police are often found complicit with the forced conversion mafia. Though there have been several reports of forced conversions, especially of minority Hindu girls, the governments and politicians in Pakistan have remained silent on the practice so far and have done little to address the issue.

In October last year, a parliamentary committee disallowed an anti-forced conversion bill to be taken up at the Parliament after the Ministry of Religious Affairs opposed the proposed law calling it ‘un-Islamic’ despite protests by legislators belonging to minority communities.

It is conservatively estimated that around 1,000 girls between the ages of 12-25 from minorities are forcibly converted to Islam in Pakistan every year and married to their abductors.

According to the 2017 census, Hindus make up around 2 per cent of Pakistan population, an overwhelming majority of them — close to 90 per cent — residing in Sindh province bordering Bharat. In 2016, Sindh province passed a law declaring forced conversion a punishable offence, but the region’s governor refused to ratify the legislation due to pressure from the powerful mullah lobby.

Ordinary Pakistanis, bred on a steady diet of Islamic supremacism and hate for the ‘infidel/kafir’, often consider any news of conversion as genuine and praise-worthy as they believe it ends kufr (disbelief). Evidence of forced conversions is dismissed as a ‘conspiracy against Islam’.

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