SAPAC Demands Justice for Girls Victim of Forced Conversion

The Story of Anjali Kumari Meghwar, a 12-year-old Hindu girl from Mustafa Abad Mohalla, who was forcibly converted to Islam and married off to a Muslim man is emblematic of the abuses endured by Sindhi Hindus in Pakistan. SAPAC demands that the perpetrators of these vile crimes against children of religious minorities be arrested and punished. The inaction of the local authorities, and the hesitations of the courts indicate a criminal willingness in Pakistan to violate the most sacred rights of minorities in Sindh.

According to news reports, Anjali disappeared five days ago only to reappear on Friday October 31st when she was handed over to the police. Her parents are demanding that their child be returned to them. However, her so called “husband” and his accomplices at the Barchundi Sharif shrine led by Pir Abdul Khaliq, claim that it was no kidnaping, no forced conversion, and no forced marriage. Instead Pir Abdul Khaliq claims that Anjali contacted him and requested to convert to Islam and marry Riaz Sial, son of Anwar Sial, a resident of Maswan Mohalla. He further claims that she asked for his “protection”.

This is the same line of defense Pir Abdul Khaliq used in previous suspected cases of abduction, forced conversion and marriage of underage Hindu girls in Sindh. Sufi Laghari, Executive Director of SAPAC, commented; “If we were to follow this line of defense, one should wonder why only underage girls are so eager to convert to Islam in Sindh? Also why do these girls all seek the so- called “protection” of the Barchundi shrine? Why are there no boys doing the same?” Regardless of the strange arguments advanced by Pir Abdul Khaliq, the girl is 12 years old, an underage minor, who does not have the legal capacity to leave her parents’ custody, convert to another religion and marry. Anyone who facilitated these actions is an accomplice in the kidnapping, forcible conversion, and rape of a minor.

SAPAC demands justice against these kidnappers, rapists, and child molesters. SAPAC further asks the international community to stand up, condemn these acts, and demand that the human right of minorities in Sindh be respected. It is an unfortunate fact of life for minorities in Sindh that it is only with the help of the international community that they can obtain justice for themselves and their children in their own country.

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