Global News - Redeem the Oppressed

Forced Conversions Rampant In Sindh Pakistan

Minorities living in Pakistan are exposed to various forms of persecution. This persecution, in most instances, finds its root in religious bigotry. A report, portrays a dire situation for Hindus living in Sindh province of Pakistan. Minorities are subjected to the menace of forced conversions, in particular the Hindus.

A report chalked out by the Unrepresented Nations and People Organizations (UNPO), forced conversions are rampant in the Sindh province of Pakistan. The report stated, “As intolerance towards religious minorities grows in Pakistan, so does the practice of forced conversions. As indicated by the former vice-chairperson of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), Amarnath Motumal, 20 or more Hindu girls are abducted and converted every month in Pakistan, although exact figures are arduous to obtain. The most vulnerable areas for forced conversions in Sindh are the Thar region (Umerkot, Tharparkar and Mirpur Khas districts), Sanghar, Ghotki, and Jacobabad.” Further divulging the menace, it was stated: “While there are different methods used to force people to convert, two common forms in Pakistan are bonded labour and forced marriage. Most bonded labourers in Sindh belong to the Hindu minorities, mainly belonging to the Scheduled Castes.” Pointing fingers at the fact, it was cleared that the Hindus in Sindh are badly off to the extent of becoming susceptible to violence of any kind. “Sindhi Hindu minority’s susceptibility to forced conversions is related, among other factors, to social and economic vulnerability, such as poverty and social alienation. Minorities lack proper space in education, jobs and community life.” In this regard, an attempt was made in 2015, a bill against forced religious conversions was tabled in Sindh Assembly. In November, 2016 the Sindh Assembly unanimously passed this bill but it was not ratified by the then Governor of Sindh Saeed-uz-Zaman Siddiqui. He succumbed to the pressure exerted by the local influential and Islamic groups to prevent the bill from being legislated. As a consequence, the bill is still on hold.

By Farrukh Saif

Farrukh Saif is a Pakistani human rights activist based in Germany. He founded his own organization, the Farrukh Saif Foundation (FSF), in 2009 with the goal of supporting marginalized and oppressed minorities in Pakistan who are affected by religious discrimination, blasphemy laws, forced conversions, abductions, rape, and bonded slavery. The main focus of the FSF is on the liberation of bonded laborers, particularly those working in brick kilns in rural areas of Pakistan. In 2018, the FSF merged with the US-based Emergency Committee to Save the Persecuted and Enslaved. Throughout his career, Farrukh has been a leading voice for the rights of minorities in Pakistan and has gained international attention for his campaigns against the misuse of blasphemy laws and the belief that asylum is not a crime. In 2014, he played a key role in the release of hundreds of asylum seekers from Thai jails and has worked with his legal team to save numerous victims of strict blasphemy laws in Pakistan. Farrukh has also been invited by the Hungarian government to discuss his work and the issues he addresses. In addition to his work with the FSF, Farrukh has also been involved in various other humanitarian efforts, including providing health care services to internally displaced persons in Khayber Pakhtoon Khawa in 2009 and assisting flood victims in Sindh and Punjab in 2010. He has worked to aid victimized minorities in Pakistan and has a strong track record of successfully advocating for their rights. Farrukh joined forces with Keith Davies in 2018 to co-found the Emergency Committee to Save The Persecuted and Enslaved, and since 2009, they have collectively successfully rescued more than 36000 individuals from slavery and persecution.