–PM Imran asks Punjab and Sindh govts to make joint strategy for recovery of girls
–Tells Sindh to come up with measures to stop such incidents
–‘Missing’ girls approach Bahawalpur court for protection
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan has taken notice of the “abduction and forced conversion” of two Hindu girls and ordered the Punjab and Sindh government to probe the reports of “abduction and forced conversion” of the girls, who were shifted to Rahim Yar Khan from Ghotki.
This was shared by Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry on Twitter on Sunday.
The prime minister also asked the Sindh government to take concrete steps to stop incidents of forced conversions, while urging the provincial governments in Sindh and Punjab to make a mutual policy regarding the issue.
The prime minister asked that the two girls be recovered if they have indeed been moved to the city [Rahim Yar Khan]. “The minorities are the white colour of our minorities and we love every colour of the flag,” said the premier as quoted by Fawad on micro-blogging site.
On Thursday, Ghotki’s Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) informed Sindh Inspector General of Police (IGP) Syed Kaleem Iman that the two girls — Reena, aged 14, and Raveena, aged 16 — have ’embraced Islam’.
However, the girls’ father and brother, in videos circulating on social media, say that the two sisters were abducted and forced to convert to Islam. In contrast, a separate video of the minor girls is also making rounds on social media, in which they say that they accepted Islam of their own free will.
The issue was also raised by human rights activist Jibran Nasir among others. Sharing a video on Twitter, he said one of the sisters is aged 14 and the other 16 and raised questions over their underage marriage, their first act, right after conversion.
In the video, a cleric can be seen next to the girls and two men who they were married to. The cleric says the girls were inspired by Islam and alleges that their family is spreading “false propaganda” and is threatening their lives.
Jibran said the Hindu sisters were converted at the Dargah Barchundi Sharif. “As per Dargah, girls wanted to convert to Islam since long influenced by its teachings, but first act after the conversion was underage marriage,” he said. The girls were reportedly taken to Rahim Yar Khan following their marriages.
Nasir also shared a copy of a first information report dated March 20, which was registered by the girls’ family against their alleged forced conversion to Islam.
“FIR [registered] with local police for ‘abducting to compel to marriage’. Age in FIR is 14 and 16,” said Nasir. “Under Sindh Child Marriages Restraint Act, every citizen under 18 falls under the definition of child and can’t be married.”
“Police has tried to dismiss the matter by citing a video of the two sisters in which they claim they willfully converted (sic) to Islam,” Nasir said.
Karachi’s Central Police Office (CPO) had claimed that the two Hindu girls who left their house stated in a recorded video that neither anyone had abducted them nor held them hostage as they had left their home on their own will and have embraced Islam without any pressure.
Fawad said on Twitter that the Ministry of Human Rights had been “asked for an inquiry”. The information minister said he would share more information when it became available.
The heirs and relatives had also held a protest demonstration on National Highway for the recovery of the girls. The protesters, carrying placards and banners, were chanting slogans against the police for not taking firm action and were demanding immediate recovery of the girls and arrest of the accused. They alleged that police were silent over the issue.
Meanwhile, the Hindu teenagers have approached a local court in Bahawalpur for protection, in a baffling twist of events that appears to contradict the family’s claims that they were abducted and converted to Islam and wedded off under duress.
MNA TO FILE RESOLUTION IN HOUSE:
A five-point resolution seeking to end the kidnapping of Hindu girls and forced conversions would be tabled in the next session of National Assembly.
According to a resolution draft circulated on social media, prominent Hindu lawmaker Dr Ramesh Kumar Vankwani was asked by Pakistan Hindu Council to play his due role for raising his voice in the parliament, media, civil society and all other forums available, in the wake of recent kidnappings of two Hindu sisters named Reena and Raveena, and another girl Shania from Mirpur Khas.