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Ex-PM Imran Khan admits Hindu girls being forcefully converted to Islam in Pakistan

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Former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan has stated that forced conversions of young non-Muslim females do place in the nation. In a speech at a minority convention on Thursday, the cricketer-turned-politician decried the forced conversions of Hindu girls to Islam in Sindh, according to Dawn.

“There is an ayat (verse) in the Holy Quran [that] there is no coercion in Islam. This is Allah’s commandment. Whoever forcefully converts a non-Muslim is disobeying Allah,” he was quoted as saying. This is the first time a leader in Pakistan has spoken out about forced conversions.

Despite repeated accusations of forced conversions, particularly of minority Hindu girls, Pakistani administrations and politicians have stayed mute on the phenomenon and have done nothing to combat it.

In October of last year, a parliamentary committee denied passage of an anti-forced conversion measure after the Ministry of Religious Affairs opposed the proposed law, despite complaints from parliamentarians from minority communities.

Last year, the UK’s All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Pakistani Minorities released a report revealing that around 1,000 girls between the ages of 12 and 25 from minorities are forcibly converted to Islam and married to their abductors in Pakistan each year. They had described the situation as a “human-rights catastrophe”.

According to the 2017 census, Hindus account for around 2% of Pakistan’s population, with the vast bulk of them — almost 90% — residing in Sindh province, which borders Hindu-majority neighbor India. Last year, the United States designated Pakistan as a “country of special concern” for breaches of religious freedom. Sindh province enacted legislation making forced conversion a criminal offence in 2016, but the region’s governor refused to sign it.

Pakistan’s ‘Conversion Factory’ For Hindu Brides 

There are no exact numbers on the number of Hindus who convert to Islam each year. However, it has been suggested that up to 1,000 girls and young women are forcefully converted each year, especially from Pakistan’s Hindu minority. And a slew of high-profile cases revolves around the Dargah Bharchundi Sharif seminary, where Mitha and his kin argue that young Hindus convert to Islam of their own free will.

“No one is forced to convert. “However, if someone comes to my Dargah to convert to Islam, it becomes my religious responsibility to offer them full assistance,” the muscular octogenarian stated, casting his eyes triumphantly toward a throng of his students gathered to kiss his hand and shake his hand.

However, Radio Mashaal’s investigation reveals that the seminary bears the hallmarks of a “conversion factory,” with girls and young women disappearing from their homes, marrying and converting virtually overnight, and being kept apart from their families – often by court order and with Mitha’s support.

Minorities’ struggle for rights, respect, and identity has grown difficult, and the government’s repeated denial of the fact of forced conversions and weddings has exacerbated the situation to the point of tragedy. Perhaps, like past governments, the current Pakistani administration feels it is doing enough, but the reality is much different. Today, the kidnapping, forced conversions, and weddings of non-Muslim girls have become one of the world’s most serious human rights concerns.

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