June 17, 2017: Conversion of Pakistan Hindu women to Islam has been creating torment amongst Hindus ever since the partition period of 1947 and emergence of Pakistan as a separate state for Muslims. Even though Islamic law condemns forcible conversion as per the Quranic principle which states – “no compulsion in religion”, but in the history of Islam, innumerable episodes of forced conversions were recorded.
Recently, a 16-year-old girl was forcibly converted to Islam following her abduction by the members of Syed community, which created upheaval among the minority community in Pakistan.
In a report by PTI, Ravita Meghwar was abducted from the Syed Community of Wanharo village near Nagarparkar in the southeast Sindh province on June 6. The girl was reported demanding protection for herself and husband Nawaz Ali Shah, claiming that she was not kidnapped but had absconded with Shah. However, her father called the marriage forceful saying the Syed community had kidnapped his daughter after giving sleeping pills to the family.
Her primary school certificate confirms that Ravita was only 16 years old. However, in a marriage certificate issued by the preacher Pir Mohammad Ayub Jan Farooqui, the girl is 18 years old and can marry the person of her choice, PTI reported.
Such dubiety of whether a person is forcibly converted or not is easily suppressed by an issuance of conversion certificate by the preacher which fiddles with the age of the girl.
Similar instances of forcible conversions were reported in the past. Last spring, Anila Dhawan was kidnapped from her home and was forcibly converted to Islam. Her abductor stated the girl had absconded from home, converted to Islam and married him. The girl was freed from the clutches of the man after her family mounted pressure on the court to probe into the matter.
Last year, a law against such conversions for those below 18 years was passed by the legislature in the southern province of Sindh, however, it was never implemented, calling back the law “anti-Islamic”. Hard-line Islamic groups called the measure against Islam and part of the conspiracy of making Pakistan a secular country.
Every year, Muslim men kidnap more than 1000 girls – mostly Hindus and forcibly convert their religion. According to the Pakistan Hindu Council, about 5000 Pakistani Hindus leave every year for India to escape religious persecution.
One of the influencing factors causing persecution of religion is the Taliban insurgency in Pakistan.
Forced conversion and marriage propagates further violence as victims are subjected to sexual violence, rape, forced prostitution, human trafficking or sale, or domestic abuse, as indicated by a report published by Movement of Solidarity and Peace in 2014.
Not only this, the plight of Pakistan Hindu women is even graver. This year in March, Zania Kumari, a Hindu woman was axed to death in Pakistan.
Anything without the consent of a person’s will is immoral and is only getting bigger with such increasing malpractices. From the forced marriage to the recording of FIR by the Pakistan Hindu women to the courtroom, a conversion certificate is what overrides marriage laws.