In front of the alarmingly increased violence on women and girls from religious minorities in Pakistan, a joint protest was held outside the 10 Downing Street, London. The protesters hailing from the British Pakistani Christian Association and Hindu Human Rights Group and the International Sindhi women organization, collectively raised voices against the unstably increased violence on women and girls from religious minorities.
The protesters submitted a petition to the British Prime Minister David Cameron, insisting that he should take action against the increasing human rights violations against Pakistani women. In the face of kidnappings, sexual assaults, forced conversions, forced marriages, honor killings, bonded slavery all being endured by the minority women and girls, there are heightened concerns for the human rights ruination in the country.
At this occasion, the British Pakistani Christian Association head, Wilson Chaudhary, stated: “1000 minority girls are kidnapped, raped and forced into Islamic marriage every year of which 700 are Christian. That is almost two a day and yet the world stays silent?”
“In the brick kilns that continue to proliferate in Pakistan we find slave women are being raped while their husbands work for their masters. These attacks continue despite anti-slavery laws that have been implemented in Pakistan since 1992. Shamma and Shahzad are a case in point and their brutal murder illustrates what happens to victims, when they try to protect themselves from further abuse.”
He went on to point at a recent incident when: “Last week a Christian man killed his own sister after she chose her own husband of who her family disapproved because he held the same caste [social group] as the girl. Amongst Christians a marriage within caste is seen as incestuous, despite the family link in this case having passed through untraceable generations.. She was beaten to death by a stick and the brother expressed remorse after the killing,” he explained the gruesome details of the murder.
However, it was too late for the poor young woman. Pakistan’s national curriculum discriminates against women and inculcates that they are objects rather than beings. Pakistani Christians sadly are not immune to the hatred taught in schools and these texts must change for the good of society.”
International Sindhi women organization (ISWO) women representatives, Dr Humaira Soomro, Dr Afsana Bhurghri, Rubina Greenwood, Sasuie Laghari, Saima Qureshi, Sunita Khan, Sadaf Solangi, Anita Thaeem, Marvi Baloch and Khadija Mahar addressed the assembly of protesters. The speakers heaped condemnation upon violence against women though it is in the form of honor killing, rape, forced religious conversion through marriage, acid attacks or denial of women’s rights to marry at their will.
The organization invoked Pakistan’ government for an abrupt action in order to thwart the alarming incidences of violence on the minority women. “I request the British Government to implement clauses to support women’s rights before giving financial aid to Pakistan,” said Khadijah Mahar.
“It was good that today we were able to highlight honor killings, forced child marriage, acid attacks and other means in which women and girls are degraded in Pakistan. Whenever British foreign aid is budgeted these factors should be assessed. At present there is a sever lack of accountability when such aid is utilized,” Ranbir Singh, Chairman of the Hindu Human Rights Group stated