Forced Conversions of Christian and Hindu Girls in Pakistan in 2023

Farrukh Saif

March 25, 2024

Forced conversion-Pakistan

Forced conversions of Christian and Hindu girls in Pakistan in 2023 have been a painful and recurring issue, with numerous cases highlighting the systematic abuse faced by vulnerable Girls and women. Throughout the year, multiple incidents of abductions, forced conversions to Islam, and coerced marriages have been reported, perpetuating violations of human rights and religious freedom.

One prominent case in 2023 involved a 14-year-old Hindu girl named Sohana Sharma Kumari, who was abducted and forcibly converted to Islam. Sohana was kidnapped by her tutor and accomplices, leading to her conversion and marriage to a Muslim man under duress.

Despite her father’s efforts to seek justice, Sohana was initially remanded to a shelter home for women. However, after expressing her desire to be reunited with her family, a Pakistani court eventually allowed her to return home on June 12, 2023.

In the majority of cases of abduction, forced conversions, and forced marriages of Christian and Hindu girls, they are between the ages of 12 and 16.

These girls are often abducted, forcibly converted to Islam, and married off to older men who are already married. The perpetrators manipulate documents to present these minors as adults, depriving them of their rights and subjecting them to violence and abuse.

In 2023 alone, numerous girls fell victim to these atrocities. While exact figures may vary across sources, reports indicate that more than 700 girls from religious minority groups were forced into marriages with Muslim men and coerced into converting their religion.

It has also been observed that police and law enforcement institutes are often found supporting the abductors, and even in some cases, we witnessed that the parents were tortured and threatened in the police stations.

This was all orchestrated under the influence of key figures in various parts of Pakistan who sought to convert Christian and Hindu girls to Islam. These People wielded significant power and influence, manipulating societal dynamics to coerce these girls into changing their faith. Their actions were driven by a desire to impose their religious beliefs onto others, exploiting vulnerable girls for their own agenda.

In the context of forced conversions of Hindu girls in Pakistan, one prominent figure associated with such egregious acts is Mian Mitho in Sindh. Mian Mitho, a powerful feudal lord and influential figure in the region, has been linked to hundreds of cases of abduction and forced conversion of Hindu girls.

His alleged involvement in orchestrating these conversions has sparked outrage and drawn attention to the systemic issues surrounding religious minorities’ rights in Pakistan. The notoriety of Mian Mitho underscores the complex dynamics at play, where people in positions of power exploit their influence to perpetrate such injustices, highlighting the urgent need for legal reforms and protection mechanisms to safeguard the rights of vulnerable Christians and Hindus against such abuses.

The continuous occurrence of forced conversions in Pakistan highlights a pressing human rights issue that demands immediate attention from authorities at both national and international levels.

Efforts must be made to address this systemic problem through legislation that safeguards the rights of religious minorities in Pakistan, as the plight of Christian and Hindu girls subjected to forced conversions underscores the critical need for concerted action to protect their fundamental rights and prevent further abuses in the future.

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Farrukh Saif

Farrukh H. Saif, a courageous Christian human rights activist, established the Farrukh Saif Foundation in 2009 to confront religious discrimination, blasphemy laws, and bonded slavery in Pakistan. His dedication to liberating bonded laborers from brick kilns and advocating for blasphemy victims and asylum seekers has garnered international acclaim. Despite encountering threats and fatwas, his impactful work persists in supporting marginalized communities. In 2018, the foundation merged with The Emergency Committee to Save the Persecuted and Enslaved, enhancing its global outreach.

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