Dr Ramesh Vankwani, a Pakistan National Assembly member, heading Pakistani Hindu Council explains about the harassment on Hindu girls. He says Muslim men, mostly married, abduct the Hindu girls, rape them and then force them to convert to Islam before marrying them. He also says they threaten and scare the girls into saying they converted willingly.
In January 2019, Pakistan Journalist and PM Imran Khan’s ex wife, Reham Khan also tweeted about a case of Hindu female child forcefully converted & married. She also mentions no action taken as politics comes first for all players.
A Study from The University of Birmingham
A study from The University of Birmingham in UK looked into the Forced Conversions & Forced Marriages in Sindh, Pakistan in 2018. It explains the scale of the issue in Pakistan and the failure of Sindh in protecting minorities. To explain, a quote from the study reports a typical pattern of the serious crime.
As a matter of fact, some religious clerics and influential people in Sindh and other regions of Pakistan facilitate these conversions. The documentary ‘Thrust into Heaven’ names Mian Mithoo of Ghotki and Pir Sarhandi of Umerkot as two of the most powerful clerics among them.
Human Rights Commission of Pakistan
Human Rights Commission of Pakistan mentioned many such concerns of persecution on minority people in Pakistan, including Hindus and Christians. The study on State of Human Rights in 2018 in fact mentions continued reports of forced conversions of Hindu women, mostly lower caste minor girls. Quite often, Hindu girls are kidnapped, forcibly converted to Islam and married to Muslim men. In a reported case, a 14-year-old Hindu girl was forced to marry a 55-year-old man. The Commission also mentions some case reports where parents of the girl victims become helpless after forced conversion and marriage. In some cases, the married girls are later sold to others or end up in prostitution.
Human Rights Commission of Pakistan mentions Child Marriage Restraint Act 2013 is not effective in Sindh and the state’s response to forced marriages has been mixed. It also mentions the police are insensitive and indifferent at best in most cases, if not for accomplices.
Other Religious Minorities Also
Not just Hindus, other religious minorities in Pakistan like Christians also face similar persecution. Open Door’s World Watch List 2019 reports abduction of an estimated 700 Christian women and girls every year, often forced to marry Muslim men. The Human Rights Commission estimates around one thousand cases of Hindu and Christian girls forcefully converted and married in the province of Sindh alone in 2018.
In November 2016, the Sindh Assembly passed a Forced Conversions Bill unanimously, under which no person under the age of 18 years could convert to Islam even on their own will. However, the Human Rights Commission mentions the ruling party caved in to pressure from religious extremists and ordered more consultations with stakeholders, delaying the process.
Hoax or Fact:
Mixture of Hoax and Facts.