In yet another instance of the Pakistani State approved persecution of Hindus in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, the Sindh High Court (Sindh is one of the 4 provinces or states of Pakistan, and home to majority of the Hindu population still surviving in Pakistan) allowed 15 year old ‘Shabana’, who was converted to Islam from Hindu Dharma and then ‘married’ to a Muslim man Ali Gul, to live with her ‘husband’.
— Bilal Farooqi (@bilalfqi) January 24, 2016
Here are the facts of the case –
- The Hindu girl was abducted on October 4 from Nawabshah, Sindh, Pakistan.
- Her father filed a kidnapping case against her kidnapper, Ali Gul.
- The 15 year old girl was then pressurized to seek quashment of the kidnapping case against her ‘spouse’, Ali Gul. She was made to submit that she had willingly converted to Islam on October 5 and married Gul, but her family was annoyed over her move and hence registered a case against her ‘spouse’. This is a standard protocol followed by such criminals in Pakistan to ensure the victim’s family is turned into the accused.
- The counsel for the girl’s father submitted that the petitioner (his daughter) was a minor and her ‘marriage’ with Gul was illegal in accordance with Section 4 of the Hindu Guardianship Act 1956.
- The court had observed that the petitioner seemed to be a minor and ordered that she be shifted to a shelter home and a medical board formed to determine her age.
- This medical board was of the opinion that girl is between 18 and 19 years old however the court did not express satisfaction on its report. It had directed the Civil Hospital Medical Karachi superintendent to include a senior gynecologist in the medical board.
- The new medical board suggested that girl was between 15 and 16 years.
- The court observed that the contention of the respondent (girl’s father) had no force as the petitioner had attained the age of puberty as was evident from the medical board’s report and she had ‘voluntarily converted to Islam without any pressure’.
- The court observed that it had already been held by the Supreme Court that a girl having attained the age of puberty could marry a person of her choice and such a marriage was valid under the Mohammadan Law. Incidentally, the same law holds good in Bharat as well, as this judgement by the Gujarat HC shows!
So was the whole exercise to determine the girl’s age just a useless charade, when the decision was anyway going to be based on Islamic Shariah law? How come this case has barely made a splash in Pakistani media, which we are told is reflective of a vibrant & tolerant Pakistani society, that is just given a bad name by few ‘non-state actors’? Will some intrepid reporter or cricket commentator raise this question while interviewing ordinary Pakistani citizens like Wasim Akram, Shoaib Akhtar, or Ghulam Ali on their next sojourn to Bharat? The stark reality is that Pakistani Muslims do not really care about such violations on Hindus. This short response on Quora to the question ‘What do average Pakistanis think of kidnapping and forced conversion/marriage of Hindu girls which has become even more rampant recently?’ by a liberal Pakistani Muslim puts it succinctly –
“The average Pakistani honestly does not care about the plight of Hindus or any minorities in Pakistan. The reasons are thus:
1. Being Hindu, they are doomed to hell. So many Pakistanis will consider it a pious service for the Hindus to be converted to Islam by ANY means possible.
2. There are many liberal Pakistanis also. But they have no political power or willingness to speak against the powerful religious people or change people’s mindset. Blasphemy is a taboo and used way too often to silence critics.
3. Pakistanis themselves suffer from goons, terrorists etc. Making Hindus scapegoats saves them from these ani-social elements. It is a lot like the thinking on prostitution. Prostitution has been justified historically by saying that it is a place to vent one’s sexual tension without raping someone. Well, Hindus and minorities are another dumping ground.Not surprisingly, the majority of prostitutes in Pakistan are Hindu girls, forced into this trade by anti-social elements.
4. Pakistani administration including police is disturbingly silent on the plight of Hindus and only paying lip-service. They don’t give a shit really! If you are a well-to-do Muslim from a middle or upper class like me; you wont come across a Hindu probably in your life. So , these news are just a statistics to you and you cant even do anything.”
This whole episode also throws light on how Islamic Shariah law holds sway in Pakistan. Under the draconian Hudood Ordinances, a Federal Shariat Court is empowered to examine and decide the question, whether or not any law or provision of law is repugnant to the injunctions of Islam. The Hudood law enforces punishments mentioned in the Quran and Sunnah for zina (extramarital sex), qazf (false accusation of zina), theft, and consumption of alcohol. It led to hundreds of incidents where a woman subjected to rape, or even gang rape, was eventually accused of zina and incarcerated. The so-called Women’s Protection Bill introduced in 2006 has been described by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) as “a farcical attempt at making the Hudood Ordinance palatable”. HRCP also says “The new bill is detrimental to the rights of non-Muslim citizens, who may not subscribe to Islamic principles.”
And leaving aside the fact of the obvious legal discrimination that Hindus of Pakistan face; the callous attitude of police, law makers and judiciary ensures that most crimes against Hindus do not even get registered or heard. Tragic stories such that of 30 year old Emmi, forcefully converted from Hindu Dharma to Islam, and sexually exploited for 8 years (including by the police official she had approached for help) abound.
What do the Pakistan apologists in Bharat like Shahrukh Khan, Sudheendra Kulkarni, Naseeruddin Shah have to say on this? Are they oblivious to this harsh reality faced by minorities in Pakistan, or just don’t care? Ignorance cannot be an excuse in this day and age for such macabre cheering of a country which fails every standard by which a civilized nation should be judged.
The Tuktuki Mandal case showed us that this same ploy of kidnap/rape, forceful conversion, and then ‘marriage’ is being employed by Muslim criminals who are emboldened by the ‘secular’ patronage they receive in places like West Bengal. Hindu society could rescue one Tuktuki after a long struggle, involving international protests, and due to the unceasing efforts of Hindu Samhati. But how many such cases go undetected?
And what about Muslim girls in Bharat who might be abducted in similar fashion – how difficult is it to threaten a minor and coerce her into giving a statement that she ‘married’ of her own volition? But courts in Bharat have ruled that if the girl has attained puberty, the ‘marriage’ will be allowed! Why aren’t women’s right activists like Dr. Ranjana Kumari of CSR worried about this, when Bharat has the second largest population of Muslims in the world? Or does this not get priority in the agenda set for them by their foreign donors?