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Saturday, June 10, 2023

Suman Lohana – another case of dubious conversion and marriage at Sufi shrine of Bharchundi Sharif: Sindh, Pakistan

Suman Lohana, a Hindu girl from Diplo, Tharparkar district of Sindh disappeared at night from her home and turned up 600 km away at the notorious forced conversion factory which is the Sufi shrine of Barchundi Sharif run by cleric-politician Mian Mithoo near Daharki in Ghotki district of Sindh.

She later told reporters that she was ‘influenced and impressed’ by Islam. Sajjad Mehar, a Muslim man that she says she talked to for 15 days helped her reach Bharchundi Sharif, where she was converted to Islam and married to him.

(video archived here )

In the above video, Suman is seen repeating the Islamic kalma/kalima (profession of faith) after Mian Javed Ahmed Qadri, a chief cleric of Bharchundi dargah. Later, she talks to an interviewer who tells us what Suman, a resident of Diplo, has converted to Islam and taken the name Qayanat Bibi. She has married Sajjad from Mirpur Mathelo ‘of her own wish’. Her family has come from Diplo to the house of a local Hindu leader Anil Kumar, to meet her and those who were involved in her conversion.

Suman tells the interviewer that Sajjad had come to take her to Bharchundi Sharif, which is over 600 km from her home in Diplo. She only knows Sajjad’s first name and is unable to tell his surname. She says that she has accepted Islam and done nikah in presence of Mian Javed, and not in court. When asked whether she was influenced/impressed by Islam or Sajjad, she says it was Islam that attracted her. She says she had been talking to Sajjad for only 15 days, before deciding to accompany him to the Sufi dargah for conversion-nikah. She adds that she has not been forced.

The interviewer then talks to her brother who says, “We met her for 3 hours, but she is repeating only one thing – ‘I have accepted Islam’ – but I don’t believe she has truly accepted Islam (of her own will). There are millions of men named Sajjad, show us who he is, show his photo…they say he is a resident of Mirpur Mathelo, but whether he is from America or elsewhere, show him to us, produce him. We will not believe like this…its all false.”

Suman had gone missing from her home in the morning, and her family couldn’t find her in any of their relatives homes either. Later, they found out that she had been taken to Barchundi Sharif and married off to Sajjad Mehar. Hindus in the area were shocked and upset.

Details about Suman’s forced marriage have come out because her older brother has spoken out against the dubious conversion and marriage. Her brother says that Suman was either pushed or tricked into marrying Sajjad Mehar.

(Video archived here )

A video circulating on social media shows Suman looking anxious and confused after her conversion at the notorious Sufi shrine of Barchundi in Daharki, Sindh. She looks stressed and doesn’t know the last name (caste-linked surname) of her new husband. Incidentally, this also shows how deeply caste consciousness is embedded in Pakistan, showing yet again that caste is a social identity marker across the subcontinent, and casteist hierarchies are nothing but a type of feudalism unlike propaganda by Hindu-haters who link this phenomenon to the Hindu religion.

Another video shared by Pakistani journalist Veengas, founder of The Rise News, shows Suman’s brother pleading with the Muslim Sufi pirs to allow his sister to return home.

(video archived here )

Mian Javed Ahmed Qadri, son-in-law of the conversion mastermind Mian Abdul Haq (popularly known as Mian Mithoo), was begged by Suman’s brother and others to give back Suman and have mercy on them. He was seen telling Mian Javeed Ahmed Qadri and the others who were part of the forced marriage to be kind and not treat the girl badly.

Another disturbing facet of this episode is that an intimate video had surfaced on social media showing a couple who resemble Suman and her ‘husband’ Sajjad. It is not uncommon for Hindu girls to be raped/sexually exploited and videotaped, and for those videos to be later used to blackmail them into accepting conversion-nikah.

In a video interview, Sajjad Mehar is seen sitting alongside a subdued-looking Suman, talking about how he did a ‘great spiritual act’ by converting a Hindu to Islam, and denying that the intimate video circulating on social media is theirs. He also threatened to take action against whoever circulated the video, as he is from an influential community (Mehar).

(Video archived here)

“Converting a Hindu to a Muslim is an act of great reward (sawab). For me, witnessing Suman’s conversion to Islam was an act of great reward (ajr). It was a reminder of the beauty and inclusivity (sic) of Islam. To those who shared that objectionable video, they have done wrong. Action will be taken against them. They don’t know that I am a Mehar, we can take action. The viral video is fake, its not ours, it is not matching. I saw Suman for the first time when I went to bring her (to Bharchundi). I brought her to make her a Muslim. That fake video has been made viral from a fake ID,” Sajjad Mehar says in the above clip.

Any person who watches all these different clips can see that Suman Lohana seems under considerable mental stress. Pakistani Hindu girls live an extremely sheltered lives as their families are scared to even let them go to school, lest they are marked by the abduction-conversion mafia. It is naive to think that such girls in their teens or early twenties will be swept away by Islam to such an extent that they leave their homes and agree to accompany literal strangers to an Islamic shrine 600 km away.

How did Sajjad Mehar come in contact with Suman? Was she ‘impressed’ by Islam over the 15-day phone interaction she says she had with Sajjad? Why didn’t she approach some nearby mosque for conversion? If her main goal was to accept Islam, why did she marry Sajjad (a man she hardly knows) in such a hurry?

Like all such cases, these questions will likely remain unanswered.

Instead of instilling confidence in the persecuted Hindus and other minorities, the Pakistani state and mainstream Muslim society cheer such conversions as they all believe in the innate supremacy of Islam and believe that people like Sajjad Mehar and Mian Mithoo are actually ‘doing a favor to non-Muslims and saving them from hellfire’ by bringing them into the fold of Islam. Even the educated classes hold such notions as we heard from veteran journalist Hassan Nissar recently, even if some choose not to utter them openly in public.

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  1. Forced conversions or unforced conversion is myth reality is they’re rapes given the cover of Islam so to escape punishment for rape. The men when they have sucked all the juices of these girls they throw them in streets with out paying any alimony haq Maher no maintenance allowance for girls and their children.


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