Global News - Redeem the Oppressed

Combating Forced Conversions in Pakistan’s Minority Communities

Original article: Hong Kong’s National Security Law: For Religious Freedom (

In Pakistan, the alarming escalation of forced conversion cases involving minority girls, predominantly in the Punjab and Sindh regions, has underscored a critical human rights crisis. Despite the urgent need for legislative action to curb this grave issue, efforts have been marred by significant delays and setbacks. Last year, a pivotal bill aimed at prohibiting forced conversions was rejected by the Parliamentary Committee on Forced Conversions, citing the need for thorough review. The Ministry of Religious Affairs and Inter-faith Harmony controversially labeled the proposed legislation as “non-Islamic,” further complicating the path to its enactment.

The situation on the ground reveals a distressing pattern: a notable surge in instances where Christian and Hindu girls are abducted, only to be later found married to Muslim men under the claim of voluntary conversion to Islam. These occurrences are particularly rampant in Punjab and Sindh, with the victims primarily belonging to the Christian and Hindu communities. The affected girls, often hailing from impoverished backgrounds, find themselves in a position of utter helplessness.

Senator Liaqat Khan Tarakai, the Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Forced Conversions, has tasked the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Inter-faith Harmony with conducting a detailed review of the bill. It is anticipated that following this scrutiny, the legislation will be reconsidered by the Committee, paving the way for potential amendments and progress. Yet, months have elapsed without any notable advancement, leaving a legislative void that enables perpetrators to continue their violations of human rights with impunity.

It is estimated that each year, around 1,000 minority girls, aged between 12 and 25, fall victim to forced conversions in Pakistan. These young girls are abducted, coerced into converting to Islam, and married off to their captors. Compounding the issue is the reluctance of law enforcement agencies to intervene, often justified by the assertion that the conversions and marriages are consensual. As a result, coerced statements of consent from the victims halt further investigations or efforts to secure their return to their families.

This dire situation represents a “human-rights catastrophe” that demands immediate attention and action from the government. The absence of robust legislation and the lack of enforcement mechanisms to protect minority communities from forced conversions not only perpetuates this grievance but also highlights a significant failure in safeguarding the fundamental rights of Pakistan’s non-Muslim citizens. The call for legislative action is not just a matter of legal reform but a pressing moral imperative to address and halt the ongoing violation of human rights and dignity in the country.