Supreme Court of Pakistan opened a long pending case against forced conversions of Hindus to Islam in Pakistan. The case was filed by pakistan Hindu Council in 2007. Supreme Court made this move after increase in the conversion cases in past six months. Three more names of the recent victims were included in this petition: Rinkle Kumari, Dr. Lata Kumari and Asha Kumari. For detailed story on these cases, see previous post here. In order to highlight some important aspects of the case, human rights activists held a press conference in Islamabad on Tuesday April 17, 2012 in Islamabad Press Club. They issued a consensus statement on this eve, which can be seen below:
Pakistan’s daughters, Rinkle, Lata and Asha await justice
We, the citizens of Pakistan hereby express our strong concern over the treatment of Hindus in Pakistan at the hands of some miscreants in the name of Islam. We want to draw the attention of authorities to the cases of forced conversion of Hindu girls to Islam, generally and most recent cases of Rinkle Kumari, Dr. Lata and Asha specifically.
We urge the media to kindly highlight the sides of these stories hitherto unheard by the masses. It is worrisome that an influential feudal, Mian Abdul Haq aka Mian Mithu who abducted Rinkle Kumari, has been able to evade law while making all pillars of the state, including the fourth pillar i.e. media, look like a joke. His sons with hundreds of their men were seen in the premises of Civil Court Ghotki where Hindu community was refused entry, when Rinkle Kumari was presented there. Mian Mithu’s sons were organizing press conference in Karachi while Rinkle was still in Police custody. His men were reportedly dictating Rinkle the answers to the questions of reporters present in the press conference. Such mockery of state and media should not be allowed and be dealt with iron hand.
It made us extremely concerned when Rinkle Kumari was produced in the Supreme Court on March 26 and after recording her statement in-camera, she screamed in front of media that she wanted to go to her mother and that she was converted forcibly. We are astonished to know that Mian Mithu has been involved in buying and selling of Hindu girls, as has been reported in Sindhi language newspapers and as per information from the victims’ families. A girl Anita was abducted and married to a Muslim from whose home Mian Mithu’s nephew abducted her and sold her to another hand. She is reportedly living with her fourth buyer, reportedly at the behest of this Mian Mithu. Mian Mithu, as per the inhabitants of Deherki, Sindh, possesses hundreds of licensed and unlicensed weapons with impunity while having as many as 117 criminal cases against him.
It is a matter of great shame for the citizens of Pakistan that Mian Mithu is not alone in this business of human trade in the name of Islam. He is supported by many including one Deher family who is allegedly responsible for the abduction of Dr. Lata. Dr. Lata was abducted a month ago and was forcibly married to a Muslim. It is noteworthy that in such cases, the Hindu girls are married within hours of their abduction. The discrepancy can be seen in the affidavit Dr. Lata has submitted to the court, where she signed it as “Lata Kumari”, and not ‘Hafsa’ as she is being called by the Deher family who abducted her.
It further strengthens suspicions against Mian Mithu when Asha, another missing Hindu girl was presented to the court last week. In the premises of Supreme Court of Pakistan, Asha was seen in the custody of the sons of Mian Mithu. It is most disturbing that she went missing in March when FIR was lodged for her abduction. Since April 3 to date, Jaicobabad Police has been searching for her. On April 13, Jaicobabad Police contacted her family, told them that their daughter was kidnapped for ransom, asked them to collect ransom money. Suddenly she emerges from the custody of Mian Mithu and appears in the court with his sons. We are astonished that this horrific series of heinous crimes is being allowed by the state under broad day light.
We deem it pertinent to state here firmly that forcible conversion and human trade is absolutely repugnant to Islam. We are grateful to Muslim scholars and practitioners of Pakistan’s rich Sufi tradition, to stand up against forced conversions, especially the Council of Islamic Ideology and many Sufi Dargahs of Sindh and Punjab. It is thus strongly put forward that in the wake of forced conversions of these girls, it will not be unIslamic to send them back to their families if the honourable court decides so. We are concerned about the bad name this kind of instances are giving to Pakistan and to Islam internationally.
While we are grateful to the President of Pakistan for taking personal notice of the crime, and to the Chief Justice of Pakistan to open the long pending case of Hindus’ forced conversions, we demand from the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party to immediately suspend Mian Mithu’s membership of the party and disqualify him from Parliament membership. He should be arrested under Section 365(a) of PPC and Section 7 of Anti-Terrorism Act. We pray to the Chief Justice of Pakistan to kindly:
- Call DIG Larkana Division to the Supreme Court of Pakistan and record his statement in-camera
- Call SSP Jaicobabad and initiate investigation why he started negotiations with Asha’s family for collection of ransom money, and on whose behest he was doing so.
- Initiate inquiry into the criminal cases against Mian Mithu, his sons Mian Aslma and Mian Rafique. We request to issue search order to recover his illegal weapons that he is keeping at his ‘dera’ in Deherki
- Ensure that the state of Pakistan provides foolproof security to the families of Asha, Dr. Lata and Rinkle Kumari and their counsels.
- Mian Mithu should be booked under Anti-Terrorist Act for terrorizing the honourable court and public in Ghotki and Mirpur Mathelo along side the families of victims
- Recover all the Hindu girls from the custody of Mian Mithu and his collaborators like the Deher family of Jaicobabad.
We also urge the Chief Justice to kindly let the families of these Sindhi girls to meet them before recording their statements.
Finally, we urge the parliament to kindly make Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah’s speech of 11th August 1947, an integral part of the Constitution. This and only this can save Pakistan from falling victim to communal, sectarian and ethnic hatred.
- Marvi Sirmed, human rights activist / columnist, Islamabad
- Mehmal Sarfraz, Journalist, Lahore – Pakistan
- Mohammad Tahseen, Executive Director, SAP-Pakistan, Lahore
- Amar Lal, former Federal Minister & Chairman Minorities Commission
- Babu Mahesh, President Jaicobabad Panchayet
- Dr Ramesh
- Naseer Memon, human rights activist
- Faisal Gurchani, Human rights activist
- Riaz Chandio, Chairman Jiye Sindh Mahaz
- Rwail Sirmed, student
- Shumaila Kaukab, Insan Foundation
- Rafia Arshed, Uks
- Salim Malik, Bedari Islamabad
- Aqsa Khan, human rights activist, Islamabad
- Dr. Farzana Bari, Human rights activist, Islamabad
- Zubair Torwali, human rights activist / columnist
- Rabia Aslam, human rights activist
- Nusrat Zehra, human rights activist / Communication Specialist SPO
- Harris Khalique, poet and columnist
- Hasan Nasir, Awami Party Pakistan