A minor Hindu girl was abducted, converted and married off to her abductor in Sindh’s Jacobabad in Pakistan.
Reshaman from Sindh was kidnapped by Wazir Hussain on June 18 and was later converted and forcibly married to him. The minor later came up with a certificate claiming that she is 19-year old and has converted on her own will. According to the certificate, Reshaman’s new name is Beesharan.
While the Imran Khan government makes tall claims regarding the safety and security of minorities in his country, Pakistan has been notoriously indulging in the persecution of religious minorities. Various incidences have been reported regarding the persecution of minorities including forced conversions of Hindu and Christian girls who are abducted and married off to old Muslim men.
HRCP suggested that 1000 non-muslim girls are converted annually
The report of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan suggests that at least 1000 non-muslim girls are converted to Islam in the country annually. The majority of them belong to the Hindu community in Sindh, where about eight million Hindus live.
It is notable that Pakistan is a signatory to the Universal Declaration of human rights which states that the right to freedom of religion includes the right to change one’s religion and that no one shall be subject to coercion to change their religion.
Despite loads of cases of abduction and forced conversions, the Pakistan government has turned down two bills tabled in 2016 and 2019 demanding that the minimum age of one’s religion be set to 18 years. Anyone guilty of coercion to be will be jailed and 21 day period in safehouse will be given to the victim to ensure that the decision has been taken with free will.
While rejecting this bill in 2016, Governor of Sindh Saeeduzzaman Siddiqui said, “When Hazrat Ali (the fourth caliph in Sunni sect and the first imam for Shia) can convert at a young age(9 years) why can’t Hindu girls?”
The same kind of resistance was also witnessed during the drive to eradicate child marriage in Pakistan. The council of Islamic ideology was seen citing Hadith in which Prophet Mohammad’s marriage to six-year-old Aisha was mentioned.