”1000 minority girls in Pakistan are forcefully converted to Islam every year” – says report

Forced conversion have become a topic of discussion once again as the alleged abduction and forced conversion of two Hindu girls from Sindh. Reflecting on the available information and research on the subject, a 2014 report by the Movement for Solidarity and Peace (MSP) in Pakistan, revealed that approximately 1000 girls are forcefully converted to Islam, usually under the cover of marriages. Among them, up to 700 of these women are Christian and 300 are Hindu.

“The true scale of the problem is likely to be much greater, as a number of cases are never reported or do not progress through the law-enforcement and legal systems” – authors of the said report claim. 

With the release of the report, MSP also issued an appeal for action along the investigation in the matter of forced conversions and marriages of minority girls in Pakistan. Among the minority population, Christian population makes a giant 42% – majority of them residing in Punjab.

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“You have to keep in mind the theory of ‘triple oppression’; you’re female, you’re a minority, and you’re from a low-income background, and the intersectionality of the three will force Christian girls into the most vulnerable positions.”

A painting on a wall in Essa Nagri, Karachi | Mohammad Ali, White Star

The report exposes these cases in context of 10 illustrative cases. All of them followed the same pattern, same miscarriage of justice. It also reveals social and historical context of the problem with relation the existing legal, political, and procedural guarantees for the protection of human rights of Pakistan’s religious minorities.

”Significantly, the judiciary applies available procedures selectively. In rare cases, courts have demanded security bonds from abducting families claiming to be lawful custodians of the girl allegedly abducted. Other proper procedures that raise the prospect of adequate provision of justice include sending the girl to a safe house prior to her statement before the court, and orders of special additional investigation by the attending police official into the circumstances surrounding the victim’s conversion and marriage. The usual practice, however, has been characterized by a lack of diligence on the court’s part, which favors the alleged criminal rather than the victim seeking relief” – authors pens down the findings of the report.
Read the report HEREWhat are your thoughts on this? Share with us in the comments bar below.

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