KARACHI: A month back, Pakistan raised objections against the Bill that was meant to protect the rights of minorities in Pakistan. Pakistan’s Ministry of Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony raised several objections to the Bill that was drafted by the Federal Ministry of Human Rights.
The Bill was presented back in October 2021, during the Parliamentary Committee’s meeting, whose agenda was to protect minorities from forced conversions. Chairperson Senator Liaqat Khan Tarakai had dismissed the draft of The Prohibition of Forced Conversions Act 2021 (the Bill) without even giving it a hearing. Not that the lawmakers were so callous in the past.
Earlier this week, the families of missing Baloch people held a protest in Pakistan’s Karachi against the increasing wave of enforced disappearances of Baloch children, women and youth. The families of missing Baloch people have called for the intervention of the United Nations and other international communities so that action is taken in the interest of justice.
The barbaric practice of abducting young girls, raping them, and converting them to Islam has become a common practice in “democratic” Pakistan where the state refuses to intervene, reported Just Earth News (JEN).
Just Earth News (JEN) is a humanitarian news portal run by a group of journalists from various parts of the world. It focuses on geopolitics, governance and aspects of health, environment, human rights, development, women and gender, economy, etc. Their aim is to highlight issues that are related to lives and livelihood.
Although the Constitution–Article 20– gives the right to profess, practice and propagate religion to every citizen, Christian and Hindu young girls, and women remain out of its purview with the state and its various agencies, including high court judges, aiding the better of the heinous crime, the JEN reported.
The media, civil society, and even most human rights groups willfully ignore this ignoble crime because the young girls are most often from poor, minority families, as per the JEN.
The JEN reported that a 15-year old Christian girl was taken away by a predator Muslim man in Faisalabad in 2022 during nighttime, there was no hue and cry, no edits were written, no protest marches took place and no one spoke against the culprits. Parents ran crying to police, courts and anyone they thought would rescue their child but none came.
It is the same country and people who hold cities to ransom, force governments to kneel and make hue and cry over cartoons published in faraway countries.
On August 4, 2020, the Justice Raja Muhammad Shahid Abbasi of Lahore High Court, referring to the fake birth certificate of a Christian girl abducted, raped, and converted, said, “Our grandparents or parents tied the knot at a time when no marriage certificates were issued, but their marriages were considered valid”. He decided in the favour of Muhammad Nakash Tariq, the abductor, ruling that the girl had willingly embraced Islam.
Five days after the ruling, the girl managed to flee from her husband’s house. She said she was held prisoner in a basement where her captor drugged and raped her before forcing her to convert and marry, as per the report by the Just Earth News.
Many surveys have put the number of such girls to be over 1000 every year. The year 2021 saw an increase of 80 per cent and in 2020 over 50 per cent from past reports, Just Earth News reported.
The data showed that these episodes were accompanied by a range of other criminal offences, including assault, kidnapping, abduction, forced marriage, child marriage, rape, gang rape and forced prostitution. The fear of predation has been so overwhelming to these families that they have stopped sending their young girls to school.
Much of the problem lies with the state which refuses to introduce and implement laws that can protect young girls from such predatory attacks.
The All India Muslim League adopted a Resolution in December 1927 at Calcutta which said, “that no individual or group shall attempt to do so or prevent it’s being done by force, fraud or other unfair means, such as the offering of material inducement.”
The Constitution of Pakistan offers protection to women in cases of forced conversion but the criminal justice system and its practices make it impossible for such women to seek and procure justice.
The state has chosen to turn its face away in such cases, says the Just Earth News. Two Bills, tabled in 2016 and 2019, were shot down. A similar law was killed in 2020.
The state of Pakistan has no interest in protecting the rights and lives of thousands of young women who fall prey to predator Muslim men with the support of police, judges, maulvis, and political leaders.
Source: india times