–Minister takes notice, directs police to provide protection to girl’s family
–Says draft of Sindh Minorities Protection Commission to be presented before provincial cabinet soon
KARACHI: Days after two underage Hindu girls were allegedly abducted and forcefully converted to Islam for marriage in Ghotki, another similar case emerged on Tuesday.
According to the First Information Report (FIR) registered by 16-year-old Mala Meghwar’s father, the incident occurred in Village Dhani Buksh Pitafi on the night between March 16 and 17.
The report states that Ghulam Haider Thaheem, along with three accomplices, one of whom the victim’s father identified as Ghulam Nabi Shah, broke into the victim’s house at around 3 am and dragged her to a vehicle waiting outside the home after which she was taken away.
The victim’s father asked the police to arrest the suspects immediately lest she is killed or forced to convert for marriage.
The villagers, however, claimed that the girl had chosen to elope with a boy of her liking and had converted to Islam in a madrassah in Samaro Tehsil after which she married of her free will.
The affidavit signed by the girl states that the girl is 19 years old and has converted to Islam out of her free will. The girl has also filed a petition in Sanghar District Court for protection.
Meanwhile, Sindh Minister for Minorities Affairs Hari Ram Kishori Lal took notice of the incident and directed Badin SSP Sardar Hassan Niazi to register a case immediately and take necessary measures to ensure the protection of the girl’s family.
The minister also sought a report from the SSP regarding the incident and instructed Sindh Director Minorities Affairs Mushtaq Ahmed Soomro to contact the relatives of the girl and to provide them with all possible assistance for her recovery.
Lal highlighted that the underage marriage is a criminal act in the province under the Early Child Restraint Act, adding that the law is being strictly implemented in Sindh.
The minister also quoted the incident of 11-year-old Monika who was abducted from Hala of Matiari district, in which the court had ordered the girl to be returned to the parents on grounds of the underage marriage law.
Talking about the recent case of two Hindu sisters Raveena and Reena, the minister said that they were taken to Punjab because of underage marriage restrictions in Sindh. The minister also asked the federal government to introduce an underage restriction bill at the federal level so that minorities can be provided protection in cases where the victims are taken to other provinces.
The minister also said that Sindh government was working on the establishment of Sindh Minorities Protection Commission and its draft had been approved by Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah two days ago.
He also said that a meeting held under the chairmanship of the chief secretary on the matter also agreed on the need for an effective commission to ensure protection for minorities. The meeting was attended by the attorney general of Pakistan (AGP) who also gave his valuable input, he added.
The minister further said that the draft of Sindh Minorities Protection Commission will soon be presented before Sindh cabinet for approval.