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Forced conversions still making Pak Hindus’ lives miserable

A young Hindu devotee covers her face as she is photographed after arriving at the Shri Hinglaj Mata Temple during an annual pilgrimage in Pakistan's Balochistan province April 25, 2011. Thousands from Pakistan and India take part in the annual four-day pilgrimage to the temple, which is a revered site for Hindus. Picture taken April 25, 2011. REUTERS/Akhtar Soomro (PAKISTAN - Tags: RELIGION SOCIETY IMAGES OF THE DAY)
A young Hindu devotee covers her face as she is photographed after arriving at the Shri Hinglaj Mata Temple during an annual pilgrimage in Pakistan's Balochistan province April 25, 2011. Thousands from Pakistan and India take part in the annual four-day pilgrimage to the temple, which is a revered site for Hindus. Picture taken April 25, 2011. REUTERS/Akhtar Soomro (PAKISTAN - Tags: RELIGION SOCIETY IMAGES OF THE DAY)

Islamabad: The minority Hindus in Pakistan continue to suffer from forced conversions and discrimination with recent reports suggesting that there is no end to their plight.

Although there are no confirmed statistics on forced conversions in the country, unofficial estimates based on reports suggest that as many as 1,000 girls are forcibly converted to Islam from other religions every year.

The ongoing issue has become so severe now that a significant number of Pakistani Hindus are forced to migrate to India.

And silence over this practice means that Hindu girls, particularly minors, are being forced to a lifetime of subjugation and separation from their families and in harsh reality they remain forcibly divorced from their religion.

Today, forced conversions have become a grave human rights concern in Pakistan.

Recently, PTI lawmaker Lal Chand Malhi, serving as MNA on a minority seat, highlighted the issue arguing for the need to pass and implement legislation on forced conversions, reports the Express Tribune.

Malhi, a parliamentarian from Umerkot, the only district in Pakistan where almost half the population is Hindu, has said that forced conversions have become a matter of routine in some parts of the country.

He also pointed out that a significant portion of Pakistani Hindus belong to the lower castes and with that they neither have the means nor the influence to get cases of forced conversions reported.

Highlighting the existence of this class barrier, Malhi said that cases of forced conversions often get reported only when the upper caste Hindus are the victims.

What remains more heart wrenching is the lack of a concentrated effort to put a stop to this evil practice by the provincial and federal governments.

This clearly exposes the government’s indifference or biasness amongst its own countrymen. (ANI)

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