No money, no food, but Pak has time to forcibly convert Hindus
The minorities in Pakistan continue to face persecution. In fact during the COVID-19 induced lockdowns, The Hindu girls were not in schools and at their homes and the bride traffickers took full advantage of the situation and kidnapped them only to later convert them to Islam
New Delhi, Jan 18: Pakistan is reeling under all sorts of problems. Its economy is a mess and the rising incidents of terrorism have put the country on the back-foot.
This has however not stopped the Mullahs in Pakistan from forcibly converting the religious minorities especially the Hindus to Islam.
A recent UN report has expressed alarm over the rate at which the religious conversions are taking place in Pakistan. There has been a rise in forced conversion and marriages of young girls from religious minorities. The UN called on Pakistan to take immediate steps to curtail peace.
Hindus most targeted:
Reports say that nearly a 1,000 girls from the religious minorities-Hindus, Sikhs, Christians are forced to convert and get married well under the legal age. Human Rights activists said that it during the lockdowns against COVID-19 the forced conversions increased since the girls were out of schools and more visible. Bride traffickers are more active on the internet and families are more in debt, the activists noted.
Most of the girls converted are from the Hindu community in southern Sindh province, a report noted. The US State Department had in 2020 declared Pakistan as a country of particular concern for violations of religious freedom. It said that underage girls in the minority Hindu, Christian and Sikh communities were kidnapped for forced conversion to Islam. They were forcibly married and subjected to rape.
Take the case of this 13 year old Christian girl from Karachi. She disappeared from her home and her parents pleaded with the police to find her. They got back to the parents saying that the girl had been converted to Islam and was married off to their 40-year old Muslim neighbour.
Hindus make up for 2 per cent of the population, while Christians are less than 1.5 per cent in Pakistan's estimated population of 220 million.
Covering up the act:
A judge in Islamabad had in 2019 placed two Hindu girls under the age of 18 in government custody and ordered a fair inquiry. The girls were forced to convert to Islam and marry Muslim men.
The girls however filed a petition in the court stating that they were over 18 and had willingly converted to Islam and married the men. This is exactly what the parents of the Hindu girls have been complaining about. They say that the minor girls are kidnapped and conversion and marriage are being used as a legal cover up to protect the abductors. The girls due to the threat of harm are giving false statements in the court.
Further the threat to the girls is so high that they refuse to take the medical examination to determine their age. The Pakistan police says that a medical examination cannot be forced against one's will.
For many Hindu families hope is fading and there is nothing that the government does about this issue. In October 2021, a parliamentary committee scrapped a proposed bill that would have criminalised forced conversions by proposing imprisonment up to 10 years.
Citizenship Amendment Act:
The Modi government introduced the Citizenship Amendment Act keeping such cases in mind. The CAA is aimed at providing a pathway for the persecuted religious minority in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh to get Indian citizenship. It applies to The Hindu, Sikh, Christian, Buddhist, Jain and Parsi community living in these countries.
However there was a section which was up in arms against the government alleging discrimination. The records by the Intelligence Bureau show that the CAA was beneficial immediately to 30,000 beneficiaries.
Those protesting the CAA said that the Muslims have been excluded from this list. However, the counter-argument to this that since Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh have Islam as their state religion. Hence it is unlikely that Muslims would face religious persecution there.