Left Menu
Development News Edition

Pakistani court refutes allegations that Hindu girls were forcefully converted

Devdiscourse News Desk | Islamabad | Updated: 11-04-2019 17:06 IST | Created: 11-04-2019 15:49 IST
Pakistani court refutes allegations that Hindu girls were forcefully converted
The counsel for the girls' parents, however, asserted that the case pertained to forced conversion. Image Credit: Pixabay

A Pakistani high court on Thursday declared that the two Hindu teenage sisters were not forcibly converted from Hinduism to Islam, and permitted them to live with their spouses, according to a media report. The two girls, Raveena (13) and Reena (15), and their spouses petitioned the Islamabad High Court on March 25 against alleged harassment by police days after their father and brother alleged that the girls were underage, abducted, forced into changing their religion, and then married off to Muslim men.

In their plea, the girls claimed that they belong to a Hindu family of Ghotki, Sindh but converted willfully as they were impressed by Islamic teaching, Dawn reported. The counsel for the girls' parents, however, asserted that the case pertained to forced conversion.

Chief Justice Athar Minallah constituted a five-member commission to probe whether the conversion of the Hindu sisters to Islam was forced or otherwise. The commission comprising Human Rights Minister Shireen Mazari, prominent Muslim scholar Mufti Taqi Usmani, Human Rights Commission of Pakistan Chairperson Dr Mehdi Hasan, National Commission on the Status of Women Chairperson Khawar Mumtaz and veteran journalist and human rights activist I.A. Rehman probed the matter and concluded that it was not a forced conversion, the report said.

The secretary interior, Azam Suleman, apprised the high court about the findings of the commission, and told the court that as per the commission's opinion, it was a facilitated conversion, the report said. Rehman pointed out in court that "there is no law in Pakistan against forced conversions" and sought a court decree in this regard.

Minallah remarked that the case of the Ghotki sisters was a simple one and would have been decided in a day or so, but a commission comprising eminent professionals and scholars was constituted keeping in view the sensitivity of the case since "the court wanted to ensure this was not a forced conversion". Regarding the issue of forced conversions, the court sought the commission's recommendations within four weeks and adjourned the case until May 14.

The teenage sisters were allegedly kidnapped by a group of "influential" men from their home in Ghotki district in Sindh on the eve of Holi. Soon after the kidnapping, a video went viral in which a cleric was purportedly shown solemnizing the Nikah (marriage) of the two girls, triggering nationwide outrage. Prime Minister Imran Khan also ordered a probe to ascertain if the two girls were abducted and forcibly converted and married.

A war of words broke out between India's External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Pakistan's Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry over the reported abduction, forced conversion and underage marriages of the two Hindu teenagers. The spat started soon after Swaraj sought details from the Indian envoy in Pakistan into the reported abduction of two Hindu teenaged girls.

Swaraj tweeted that she has asked the Indian High Commissioner in Pakistan to send a report on the matter. Hindus form the biggest minority community in Pakistan.

According to official estimates, 75 lakh Hindus live in Pakistan. Majority of Pakistan's Hindu population is settled in Sindh province. According to media reports, approximately 25 forced marriages to take place every month only in Umerkot district in Sindh province.


TRENDING

OPINION / BLOG / INTERVIEW

Domestic seafood trade in focus as COVID-19 changes market dynamics

As predicted earlier in a report titled Seafood industry post-COVID 19 An overhaul to trigger the growth of small fisheries, one of the changes going ahead would be increased focus on domestic seafood trade, driven by falling exports and su...

Migration post-COVID 19: Taking cues from the past to rebuild economies

Migrants are an irreplaceable part of even the essential workforce of developed countries and are on the frontline in the fight against the crisis, making an immeasurable contribution to saving the lives of natives with voting rights....

Socialization Post-COVID-19: Local associations and online groups to play crucial role

Though every age group is suffering due to the global lockdown caused by the ensuing COVID-19 pandemic, the challenges before adolescents are unique. Their social space has shrunk drastically, besides, they have become highly vulnerable to ...

Pharma post-COVID 19: Reducing political clout can alter business models

Powerful governments that have historically supported the pharma industry in enforcing global intellectual property rules are changing course and introducing legislation that can override normal patent rights during emergencies....

Videos

Latest News

China reports 11 new mainland COVID-19 cases vs 3 a day earlier

China reported 11 new confirmed coronavirus cases in the mainland as of end-May 24, up from three a day earlier, the National Health Commission reported. The commission said in a statement all of the new infections were imported cases invol...

FEATURE-As lockdown clears the air, Cairo looks to keep pollution low

By Menna A. Farouk CAIRO, May 25 Thomson Reuters Foundation - It is a Thursday evening in downtown Cairo, usually a crowded and noisy time as the weekend gets underway. But today the streets are quiet, and the air is noticeably clean.It has...

EXPLAINER-Emerging get-tough consensus among Trump's China advisers tested by Hong Kong debate

Long divided between those pushing for a hardline stance and others advocating cautious engagement, President Donald Trumps China advisers - under the shadow of the coronavirus crisis - appear to have moved closer together on a tougher appr...

Taiwan promises 'necessary assistance' to Hong Kong's people

Taiwan will provide the people of Hong Kong with necessary assistance, President Tsai Ing-wen said, after a resurgence in protests in the Chinese ruled territory against newly proposed national security legislation from Beijing. Taiwan has ...

Give Feedback