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Is There a Pattern in Love Jihad Cases? Hindu Girl Elopes, Gets Converted, Marries Muslim Man

The agency on Wednesday claimed that the Love Jihad campaign is following a 'pattern' that has been emerging in Kerala

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Love Jihad
Pakistani Hindus Girls undergo forcible conversions in Pakistan
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August 17, 2017: A Hindu girl, Ravita Meghwar living in a village in Pakistan for 16 years was recently married off to a Muslim Man. The family members of the Hindu girl believe that the kidnappers drugged them and abdicated their daughter. Ravita who was rechristened to Gulnaz says she eloped and married by her own choice.

In the recent years, case after case has been reported of Hindu girls converting to Islam in the courts in Pakistan’s southern eastern Sindh province which is also the home to the majority of Pakistani Hindus. Lower-caste and low-income Hindus in Sindh work on farmlands for powerful, rich landowners as a result of which they face discrimination and are often cut off from the Hindu community at large.

The purportedly forcible conversions of Hindus have almost similar pattern in the cases. Targeting of minor girls has deeply disturbed the Hindu population in Pakistan.

The alarming situation feeds into a wider judgment-

[bctt tweet=”After 70 decades of Partition of Indian Sub continent, Pakistan isn’t safe for Pakistani Hindus. ” username=”NewsGramdotcom”]

Today Pakistan is deemed as an Islamic nationalist state where hardline religious groups are an intimidating force, and religious minorities are voiceless.

Pakistan was established as a Muslim state in 1947 where the country’s founder Mohammad Ali Jinnah proclaimed that the religious minorities should have the independence to live in the nation and follow their religion, however, as the time elapsed such has not been the scenario

The prominent Islamic religious organizations are striving hard to convert Hindu girls to Islam due to which some Hindus are leaving their settlements and migrating to other cities in Pakistan, or even so leaving Pakistan completely and departing to India. The community of Hindus in Pakistan has sharply declined from roughly 23 per cent in 1947 to barely 6 per cent presently owing to coerced conversions, suppression and oppression in Pakistan, mentioned ANI.

Ravita Meghwar’s brother-in-law, Lajpat Meghwadh says with respect to the issue, “The person who Ravita has gone off with has no connection to the family, except that they had a dispute. He has never come to our house”.

There are two contradictory perceptions from both the religious groups- while the Hindu activists claim that young girls are kidnaped, forced into converting to Islam, and wedded to Muslim men in an orderly manner, the Muslim leaders are defensive about the issue saying that conversions are a way of meriting blessings. Shockingly, these conversions are often strengthened by powerful muslim clerics and local politicians which assert that the girl voluntarily flew, converted, and married.

This poses a hurdle for lawyers who have to decide the justice for such cases. And in most of the cases, the girl’s assertion to marry at her own will settles the case, whereas her parents live in denial.`

Forced conversions became the focal point of the nation in 2012 when three Hindu girls were reported to have been forcibly converted to Islam and married to Muslim men.

Before we know what those cases were, here is a brief understanding of ‘Love Jihad’:

Where did Love Jihad come from?

In Islam, ‘Jihad’ typically means struggle or battle for a religious cause. Hence, ‘Love Jihad’ basically is a push to instill infatuation in girls of religious minorities by feigning love and hopes of marriage. In 2009, there were claims of forceful religious conversions in Kerala and Mangalore. In 2009, Justice KT Sankaran (Retd.), observed there were indications of forceful religious conversions in Kerala and that the government should mull over a law to prohibit such instances. “Under the pretext of love, there cannot be any compulsive, deceptive conversion,” the court said.

Some of the famous cases of Love Jihad: 

In 2014, a case of Kaleem and Shalu Tyagi’s love affair from Meerut caught national attention which was pitched as a case of ‘Love Jihad’.

In the same year, another famous case where a national-level shooter Tara Shahdeo alleged that the person whom she thought to be a Hindu was actually a Muslim and that her in-laws were coercing her to convert to Islam.

This year, again with the Hadiya case, ‘Love Jihad’ came into recognition. The Kerala High Court declared the marriage of a Hindu girl and Muslim man null and void after the woman’s father testified that his daughter has been recruited by Islamic State (IS) in Syria. After this, the Muslim husband approached the Supreme court seeking justice. On Wednesday, NIA stated that ‘Love Jihad existed’ in a response to SC orders. The agency further claimed it was not a distinctive incident on the part of Love Jihad campaign but a ‘pattern’ that has been emerging in Kerala, mentioned PTI.


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Pakistan Fears Economic Turmoil, Re-thinks ‘Silk Road’ Project With China

In 2017, Pakistan turned down Chinese funding for a $14 billion mega-dam project in the Himalayas because of cost concerns.

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Pakistan
A man passes through a railing while others board a train as they make their way home at the Cantonment railway station in Karachi, Pakistan. VOA

After lengthy delays, an $8.2 billion revamp of a colonial-era rail line snaking from the Arabian Sea to the foothills of the Hindu Kush has become a test of Pakistan ’s ability to rethink signature Chinese “Silk Road” projects because of debt concerns.

The rail megaproject linking the coastal metropolis of Karachi to the northwestern city of Peshawar is China’s biggest Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) project in Pakistan, but Islamabad has balked at the cost and financing terms.

Resistance has stiffened under the new government of populist Prime Minister Imran Khan, who has voiced alarm about rising debt levels and says the country must wean itself off foreign loans.

“We are seeing how to develop a model so the government of Pakistan wouldn’t have all the risk,” Khusro Bakhtyar, minister in Pakistan’s planning ministry, told reporters recently.

Pakistan
Visitors read instruction material about land that was reclaimed from the Indian Ocean for the Colombo Port City project, on the Galle Face sea promenade in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Jan. 2, 2018. The Port City project was initiated as part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative. VOA

Unease elsewhere

The cooling of enthusiasm for China’s investments mirrors the unease of incoming governments in Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Maldives, where new administrations have come to power wary of Chinese deals struck by their predecessors.

Pakistan’s new government had wanted to review all BRI contracts. Officials say there are concerns the deals were badly negotiated, too expensive or overly favored China.

But to Islamabad’s frustration, Beijing is only willing to review projects that have not yet begun, three senior government officials have told Reuters.

China’s Foreign Ministry said, in a statement in response to questions faxed by Reuters, that both sides were committed to pressing forward with BRI projects, “to ensure those projects that are already built operate as normal, and those which are being built proceed smoothly.”

Pakistani officials say they remain committed to Chinese investment but want to push harder on price and affordability, while re-orientating the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), for which Beijing has pledged about $60 billion in infrastructure funds, to focus on projects that deliver social development in line with Khan’s election platform.

Pakistan
China’s ambassador to Pakistan, Yao Jing, Islamabad. VOA

‘Mutual consultation’

China’s Ambassador to Pakistan, Yao Jing, told Reuters that Beijing was open to changes proposed by the new government and “we will definitely follow their agenda” to work out a roadmap for BRI projects based on “mutual consultation.”

“It constitutes a process of discussion with each other about this kind of model, about this kind of roadmap for the future,” Yao said.

Beijing would only proceed with projects that Pakistan wanted, he added.

“This is Pakistan’s economy, this is their society,” Yao said.

IMF bailout likely

Islamabad’s efforts to recalibrate CPEC are made trickier by its dependence on Chinese loans to prop up its vulnerable economy.

Growing fissures in relations with the United States, Pakistan’s historic ally, have also weakened the country’s negotiating hand, as has a current account crisis likely to lead to a bailout by the International Monetary Fund, which may demand spending cuts.

“We have reservations, but no other country is investing in Pakistan. What can we do?” one Pakistani minister told Reuters.

Pakistan
Laborers dig the ground before replacing concrete sleepers along railway tracks in Karachi, Pakistan. VOA

Crumbling railways

The ML-1 rail line is the spine of country’s dilapidated rail network, which has in recent years been edging toward collapse as passenger numbers plunge, train lines close and the vital freight business nosedives.

Khan’s government has vowed to make the 1,872 km (1,163 mile) line a priority CPEC project, saying it will help the poor travel across the vast South Asian nation.

But Islamabad is exploring funding options for CPEC projects that depart from the traditional BRI lending model, whereby host nations take on Chinese debt to finance construction of infrastructure, and has invited Saudi Arabia and other countries to invest.

One option for ML-1, according to Pakistani officials, is the build-operate-transfer (BOT) model, which would see investors or companies finance and build the project and recoup their investment from cash flows generated mainly by the rail freight business, before returning it to Pakistan in a few decades time.

Yao, the Chinese envoy, said Beijing was open to BOT and would “encourage” its companies to invest.

Pakistan
A man waits to cross a portion of track once shared with the Karachi Circular Railway line in Karachi, Pakistan. VOA

Large rail projects, problems

Rail mega-projects under China’s BRI umbrella have run into problems elsewhere in Asia. A line linking Thailand and Laos has been beset by delays over financing, while Malaysia’s new Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad outright canceled the Chinese-funded $20 billion East Coast Rail Link (ECRL).

Beijing is happy to offer loans, but reticent to invest in the Pakistan venture as such projects are seldom profitable, according to Andrew Small, author of a book on China-Pakistan relations.

“The problem is that the Chinese don’t think they can make money on this project and are not keen on BOT,” Small said.

Off-books debt

During President Xi Jinping’s visit to Pakistan in 2015, the ML-1 line was placed among a list of “early harvest” CPEC projects that would be prioritized, along with power plants urgently needed to end crippling electricity shortages.

But while many other projects from that list have now been completed, the rail scheme has been stuck.

Pakistan
. The difference between the two validate the investments made on the road, and give a hopeful image for the future.

Pakistani officials say they became wary of how early BRI contracts were awarded to Chinese firms, and are pushing for a public tender for ML-1.

Partly to help with price discovery, Pakistan asked the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to finance a chunk of the rail project through tendering. The ADB began discussions on a $1.5-$2 billion loan, but China insisted the project was “too strategic,” and Islamabad kicked out the ADB under pressure from Beijing in early 2017, according to Pakistani and ADB officials.

“If it’s such a strategic project then it should be a viable project for them to finance on very concessional terms or invest in?” said one senior Pakistani official familiar with the project, referring to the BOT model.

China’s foreign ministry said Beijing was engaged in “friendly consultations” with Pakistan on the rail project.

Chinese companies participated in BRI projects in an open and transparent way, “pooling benefits and sharing risks,” it said.

Pakistan
In this file photo taken Oct. 10, 2015, a bus moves past by solar power and wind power farms in northwestern China’s Ningxia Hui region.

Chinese debt or no project

Analysts say Pakistan will struggle to attract non-Chinese investors into the project, which may force it to choose between piling on Chinese debt or walking away from the project.

In 2017, Pakistan turned down Chinese funding for a $14 billion mega-dam project in the Himalayas because of cost concerns and worries Beijing could end up owning a vital national asset if Pakistan could not repay loans, as occurred with a Sri Lankan port.

Khan’s government chafes at several Chinese intercity mass transport projects in Punjab, the voter heartland of the previous government, which now need hundreds of millions of dollars in subsidies every year.

Also Read: Creating a New Silk Road: China’s Billion Dollar Investments to Expand Its Transportation Network

They also fume about the risk of accumulating off-books sovereign debt through power contracts, where annual profits of above 20 percent, in dollar terms, were guaranteed by the previous administration.

With the ML-1 line, there are also those who harbor doubts closer to home, including the previous government’s finance minister, Miftah Ismail, who said his ministry had always had concerns about its viability.

“When people say it’s a project of national importance, that usually means it makes no sense financially,” he said. (VOA)