Issues

Forced Conversions

According to the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), every year 1,000 Sindhi girls between the age of 12 and 28 are forcibly married and converted to Islam. Every month, between 40 to 60 girls are taken from Sindh alone. Meaning, almost 2 Sindhi girls are abducted and forcibly married every day. The HRCP also reports that between January 1st, 2004 and May 17th, 2018 there were 7,430 cases of such abductions in Sindh, however it is believed the number could be much higher. Police often do not take reports of forced conversion of Sindhi girls seriously, and therefore do not file a First Information Report (FIR), without a FIR the cases of these Sindhi girls can not be investigated. It is also against the law for anyone in Pakistan under the age of 18 to get married without parental permission, but the kidnappers will claim that the family is anti-Muslim and that the Sindhi girl is actually 18 years old or older and the documents provided are forged. Girls above 18 are often already married but until 2017 only Muslim marriages were recognized by the state, making it impossible to prove. When these girls are abducted, Sindhi families lose their daughters forever.

 

Enforced Disappearances

The UN Human Rights Committee defines an enforced disappearance as “an arrest or detention by state officials followed by a refusal to acknowledge the person’s fate or whereabouts”.  The biggest victims of enforced disappearances of Sindhi people include activists, writers, teachers, students and more. The disappeared Sindhis are taken as a result of them speaking out against the government, regardless of the reach they have. Since 2011 the Pakistan Commission of Inquiry on Enforced Disappearances (COIED) has received over 5,290 cases of enforced disappearances of Sindhi people. According to Amnesty International, 2,178 of these cases are unresolved. However, the actual number of Sindhi missing is higher. A large number of cases of enforced disappearances go unreported as Sindhi families are worried that they will become a target. Those who have filed reports are often harassed by the Pakistani police and secret agencies or have more family members go missing or may go missing themselves. Sindhis who are taken are often tortured for multiple months or years before being killed. Their bodies are frequently thrown out onto the street in order to instill fear into the Sindhi community.

 

Extrajudicial Killings

An Extrajudicial killing is when a person is killed by a government or governmental authorities without judicial process. They are also known as fake encounter killings. They occur frequently in the Sindh Province of Pakistan. According to The News International, from January 2014 to May 2018 3,345 people were killed in Pakistan as a result of police encounters based on media reports of extrajudicial killings. The province with the most killings reported was Sindh, with 1,592 people killed. While this number is devastatingly large, the correct number is estimated to be much higher, as in 2016 it was found that only 28% of known extrajudicial killings of Sindhis from that year were reported in the media. This is likely because of an ‘invisible hand’ covering up the killing of Sindhis. When an extrajudicial killing of a Sindhi happens, the case is often kept out of court through postponing. However, in most cases these killings are never investigated and never receive a trial date to begin with.