Pak High court lets Hindu girls reunite with husbands: ‘Girls accepted Islam on their own’

The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Thursday allowed two Hindu sisters in Sindh province to reunite with their husbands in the light of a  report on the alleged abduction, forced conversion and marriage of the teenaged girls, the media reported.

The girls — Reena, Raveena and their husbands Safdar Ali and Barkat Ali — had earlier filed a petition seeking protection. The petition by the girls stated that they were born in a Hindu family of Ghotki, Sindh, and converted because they were “impressed by Islamic teachings”.

The petition claimed that they did not inform their family because of “threats to their lives”. The plea also stated that the two girls left their home on March 20 and two days later they willingly converted and entered into marriages.

The incident came to light when a video surfaced online showing the teenagers’ father and brother claiming that the girls were abducted and forcefully converted. In the video, the girls’ father claimed that they were 13 and 14 years old.

It was followed by another video in which the two girls claimed that they had converted to Islam. It was reported that the girls were moved from Sindh’s Ghotki district to Rahim Yar Khan in Punjab province.

During the Thursday court hearing, the Interior Secretary said that members of the commission — Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari and National Commission on the Status of Women Chairperson Khawar Mumtaz — held a meeting with the girls and their spouses separately, the Express Tribune reported.

“The girls accepted Islam on their own to marry their lovers,” said Mumtaz.

The Interior Secretary said: “This does not appear to be a forced conversion case. It seems like it has become a culture in the area. The medical tests proved the girls are adults aged 18 and 19.”

Amid the uproar over the case, Prime Minister Imran Khan had directed the Sindh and Punjab governments to probe the issue and recover the girls if the forceful conversion allegation was correct. (with IANS inputs)

Kashmir needs independent journalism…

…now, more than ever to give a voice to the voiceless. The press in Kashmir has operated under tremendous pressures of reporting from a conflict zone but since August 2019 we find ourselves in unchartered territory. The Kashmir Walla is among the oldest independent media outlets in Kashmir and has withstood successive lockdowns as well as attempts to suppress us, fighting back with authoritative ground reports based on facts.

We believe in making the powers that be accountable to their actions but to also hold the mirror to the society. We believe in covering all sides of the story and that empowerment in essence means the ability to make informed decisions. As such we have not allowed our journalism to be influenced by the pressures.

Despite the new and still unknown pressures, we are all the more committed to keep informing you of events and stories that matter. Our recent coverage of events has brought us an increased readership. However, the coronavirus pandemic and resultant economic crisis has affected our operational capabilities. We are facing an existential threat but only your support can help us withstand this and maintain our editorial independence.

We need your solidarity to keep our journalism going. Your contribution will empower us to keep you informed on stories that matter from Kashmir. Show your solidarity by joining our members community. Kashmir thanks you.