“Girls forced to convert on daily basis”: Senate’ Standing Committee on Religious Affairs slams forced conversions

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Senate’ Standing Committee on Religious Affairs has slammed forced conversions of minorities’ girls and women to Islam. On Tuesday, June 21, the committee deplored the rising trend of forcing Christian, Hindu and girls from other religious backgrounds to convert to Islam, and termed it un-Islamic.

Forced conversions rising in Pakistan

Chairman OF Senate’ Standing Committee on Religious Affairs Hafiz Hamdullah stated, “Forced conversion of girls to Islam is against the teachings of Islam and also a violation of law in the country. The girls are being across the country on a daily basis which is a dilemma of the society.” Hafiz Hamdullah further remarked that religion is a personal matter of each and every citizen, no one has the right or authority to force an individual to convert to other religion outside of his consent.

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Raja Zafar ul Haq, Leader of the House was of the opinion that the very act of compelling anyone to convert to Islam, is contrary to the Islamic teachings. “We are already under observation from human rights organizations due to growing incidents of force conversions,” he said.

Moreover, Senator Gian Chand, a Hindu lawmaker appraised the Senate’ committee that in Sindh province Hindu girls are the main victims of force conversions, he added that the incidents of Hindu girls being kidnapped, raped and forcefully given in marriage to Muslim men and forced to convert to Islam are increasing at an alarming rate. “Police does not take action fearing the reaction of the Muslim community,” the Hindu lawmaker added.

Followed by discussion, the Standing Committee of Senate on Religious Affairs urged the government to chalk out and implement a wide-ranging system for the protection of girls and even the married women belonging to minority communities. Additionally, the provincial and federal governments were directed to draft legislation which bars practice of forced conversion and carries substantial punishment for the guilty party.

According to a report presented by a Pakistani NGO, AURAAT Foundation, about 1000 girls are being forced to convert to Islam every year in Pakistan. In the light of reported cases of abductions followed by forced conversions, about 700 Christian girls are kidnapped and forcefully given in marriage to their Muslim abductors and 300 Hindu girls undergo similar ordeal.

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