Huma Yunus, a teenager of 14 was allegedly abducted from a Christian colony in Karachi last year, and she had to marry a Muslim man instead of her religion. Huma was not alone, the same year a fire broke out in Lahore over the alleged forcible conversion of a young Sikh woman. Protests erupted in India also.
These incidents are not new in Pakistan. More than a thousand non-Muslim women are abducted and converted to Islam every year. The report came from the United States and the United Nations. According to the data, the minority communities in Pakistan are now in extreme crisis.
A report published from the United States that the Pakistani government is responsible for the oppression of minorities in Pakistan. The existence of the minority communities in that country is really in crisis because of the discriminatory activities of the current ruling government in Pakistan (Tehreek-e-Insaf). Especially, the condition of Hindu, Christian, and Sikh women is very bad.
Women of these religious communities have been targeted since they were in school. Attempts were made to forcibly take them away and convert them into Muslims. The report claims that the Pakistani government remains silent, despite knowing all about it. No proper action is taken.
A United Nations report revealed that the politics of violence and anarchy were on the rise in Pakistan. Minority communities are virtually second class in that country. Various laws are being imposed on them by force. Non-Muslim citizens are being kept aside to take political advantage. Sometimes the shops of Hindus or Sikhs are being burnt down, and sometimes religious riots are being incited by creating communal riots.
Abduction of non-Muslim girls is also one of the purposes of this division. Minority teenagers are being raped forcibly in the name of religious conversion. Women are not safe there at all. The report says more than 1000 non-Muslim girls are abducted every year. Then they are forcibly being married to Muslim men. False marriage certificates are also being produced.
The police are not taking any action despite knowing everything. Even, informing high-ranking government officials is not yielding any benefit. Such abductions and conversions continue unabated in Punjab and Sindh area.
There are more and more incidents of religious conversions happening in Pakistan making the country unbearable to non-Muslim communities. Arju Raja of 13, was abducted from a Christian colony in Karachi. The girl’s family had alleged that Arju had been married to a 40-year-old Muslim man two days after she went missing. The police did nothing to stop the abduction and conversion. The girl was not sent home either. The incident sparked outrage in Karachi. The girl was given in marriage by the Qawasi Ahmed Mufti Jan, who was known to have been interrogated. He himself has married many minors instead of their religion.
Here we mention another incident where Jagjit Kaur, the daughter of Bhagwan Singh, a priest at the ‘Tambu Sahib Gurudwara’, was forced to convert in Lahore at gunpoint.
A Hindu girl from Pakistan’s Punjab province was accused of forcibly marrying and converted into Islam in the month of April last year. The wedding video also went viral on social media.
Imran Khan’s administration was uneasy over the allegations of conversion and marriage of two sisters, Rina and Rabina, residents of Ghotki district in Sindh province. In that case, also, the video of the conversion wedding was uploaded on social media. The Islamabad High Court ordered the two girls to be rescued immediately after protests by the minority community.
Demonstrations began in Karachi and Sindh, protesting the abduction and conversion of Hindu minors, sometimes Sikh teenagers, one after another. However, due to the lack of legal support, the protest stopped midway.
Existence of blasphemy laws in Pakistan
The existence of blasphemy laws in Pakistan has really created various problems for minorities. The law actually was inherited from the colonial rulers like the British. A few clauses were added to the laws during the tenure of General Zia-ul-Haq. These clauses criminalized some specific activities like ‘insulting Prophets of Islam’, ‘speaking or presenting concept against the holy Quran’, ‘expressing disrespectful attitude against religious scholars’, etc.
As per the data given by National Commission for Justice and Peace, which was formed in 1985 by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference in Pakistan, a total of 1540 blasphemy cases occurred till 2018. Among the 1540 cases, 50% of the cases involved non-Muslims.