In the face of increasing incidents of Christian and Hindu girls being abducted and forced to marry Muslim men, thus being forced to convert to Islam; Pakistan Minorities Teachers’ Association has urged the Prime Minister of Pakistan Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif to take note of the escalating situation.
In his letter to the Premier, Anjum James Paul – Chairman of the Pakistan Minorities Teachers’ Association called upon the PM to take immediate action to curb this heinous phenomenon which is taking place alarmingly. According to a credible source, in Punjab only 18 Christian girls have been taken away and have been forced to marry their abductors or given as sex slaves to Muslim men. In Sindh, Hindu girls are being targeted.
An excerpt of Professor Anjum James Paul’ letter dated May 13, Ref no. PMTA/43-45/16-KPR is as below:
Mr. Muhammad Nazaz Sharif
Prime Minister of Pakistan
Prime Minister’ Secretariat
Subject: UNPROTECTED PAKISTANI CHRISTIAN AND HINDU DAUGHTERS
Greetings and peace from Pakistan Minorities Teachers’ Association (PMTA). PMTA would like to draw your kind attention on the subject cited above.
State of human rights is worsening day by day in Pakistan because Christian and Hindu minor girls and women are a soft target for the abductors who abduct them, forcibly convert their religion and forcibly marry as they are supported by the state run functionaries. Judicial system of Pakistan has always been influenced by the majority and due to this non-Muslims are denied to justice even though they produce documentary evidences to the courts.
The most recent example of this injustice is Sana Shahid , D/O Shahid John, who was a student of grade 5 when she was abducted, converted to Islam and forcibly married on November 9, 2015 (187 days ago) while she was going to her Government Girls Primary School, Mianapura (West) Sialkot by Waheed Akhter S/O Muhammad Bashir, resident of Mohallah Kasayian, Rodes Road, Mianapura, Sialkot. First Information Report (FIR) number 933/15 was lodged in the Hajipura Police Station Sialkot on the same day on November 9, 2015 but in vain.
According to Birth Registration Certificate, Government of Punjab, Saint Joseph Catholic Church Sialkot record and School leaving certificate of Government Girls Primary School, Mianapura (West) Sialkot, Sana Shahid was born on April 17, 2002 but on marriage certificate she is 18 years of age. Pakistan non-Muslims have lost their daughter Sana by the biased decision of the court which has put damaging effects on Sana’ father who had lost senses and wanders in search of his stolen daughter who cannot be returned to him because she is in the powerful hands. Sana’s family is paralyzed and unprotected by the powerful. I still remember her daddy said to me in December 2015, with a little hope” Many days are gone when will our daughter be returned to us?” Sana’ twin sister Hina who wanted to become a doctor has also left school in fear of abduction and forced conversion. Sana’ two younger brothers have also left school. Sana’ uncle is threatened of life. Prime Minister’ National Enrollment Scheme 2016 to send every girl child to school has failed after this verdict. Non-Muslim parents do not feel secure to send their daughters to schools now in fears.
In Sana Shahid’ case there is open violation of:
1. Punjab Child Marriage Restraint (Amendment) Act 2015
2. According to Punjab Commission for Women Rights
i. It is a crime to marry a girl under the age of 16
ii. Underage and forced marriage is a punishable crime
iii. There is 6 months prison and 50,000 Rupees fine not only for the person who marries a girl under the age of 16 but also for that person who performs that marriage ceremony and who registers the marriage s well
3. Section 356 B of Pakistan Penal Code
4. National Action Plan 2014 regarding the “religious persecution and protection of minorities”
5. Punjab Child Protection Bureau
6. Article 20 (a) of the Constitution of Pakistan guarantees, “Every citizen shall have the right to profess, practice and propagate his religion.”
7. Article 25 A of the Constitution of Pakistan that guarantees, “The State shall safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of minorities, including their due representation in the Federal and Provincial services.”
In his letter, Professor Anjum James Paul further wrote:
i. Is there religious freedom to all citizens of Pakistan as guaranteed in Article 20 of the Constitution of Pakistan?
ii. Are rights of non-Muslim minority students protected in the curriculum, textbooks and educational environment as guaranteed in Article 22(1) of the Constitution of Pakistan?
iii. Are all citizens of Pakistan safeguarding the legitimate rights and interests of religious minorities as guaranteed in Article 36 of the Constitution?
iv. Are courts unbiased regarding the forced conversion of religion and forced marriages of Christian and Hindu girls and women?
v. Are there any laws for the security of Christian and Hindu marriages?
vi. Why are the abductors interested to marry Christian or Hindu girls and women while there are girls and women even in their own religion who may be in need to marry them?
vii. Are there any arrangements for the religious education of non-Muslims?
viii. Why non-Muslims are invited to convert their religion?
ix. Why there is propagation against the beliefs and practices of non-Muslims in the electronic and print media and in the educational environment?
The ultimate answer to all these questions is “NO” because non-Muslim religious minorities are deprived of equal opportunities and equal citizenship in Pakistan. There is hardly any day when a Christian or a Hindu girl or woman is not raped, abducted, forcibly converted and forcibly married. There is only desecration of the sanctity of the Christian and Hindu marriages. There is desecration of churches and temples. There is desecration of and burning of the Holy Bible and Geeta.