On Friday, former Congressional candidate Manga Anantmula, the mother of US Navy commander, confronted Pakistani Ambassador Masood Khan during a Q&A sessions at the National Press Club and requested he address the issue of forced conversions and the rape of hundreds of women who identify as religious minorities in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.
“Manga’s bravery today deserves praise and recognition,” said Deepti Mahajan, CHINGARI Project Lead. “She stood up and presented a voice for the voiceless girls and women who are forcibly converted to Islam in Pakistan and married off to much older men without having a say in the matter.”
HinduPACT Executive Director Utsav Chakrabarti added: “The Biden administration needs to address the issue of discrimination against religious minorities in Pakistan and the continued corruption in their armed forces before they provide any further military and economic assistance to Pakistan’s leadership.”
Ambassador Khan’s appearance at the National Press Club was focused on fundraising and relief efforts for the flood-ridden country which has affected 33 million people. The US government has already pledged $300 million in relief to Pakistan to help offset the damages the nation has sustained as a result of what is seen as the worst flooding in the nation’s recent history.
Commenting on Ambassador Khan’s request for American and International aid for floods, Ajay Shah, President of World Hindu Council of America and Convenor of HinduPACT said: “As Americans, we have a right to demand that any American aid be tied to the protection of minority girls and women from systematic state-sponsored brutality.” Shah added, “For the Hindu minority, and especially Hindu women, there is an ominous added dimension to the crisis. There are reports of Hindu girls lured for food and gang raped. Reports suggest that an eight-year-old girl was raped and her eyes gouged out in the Sindh province of Pakistan.”
Despite Ambassador Khan’s consistent attempts to blame damage caused by the flooding on climate change, the true issue is Pakistan’s poorly maintained infrastructure and reckless defense spending. Pakistan remains one of the most corrupt, militarized, and poorly sustained countries in the developing world.