Even today, the practice of Forced religion conversion prevails in Pakistan. Every year at least 1000 underage girls are forcibly converted to Islam. These girls come from religious minorities or families with poor backgrounds.
Sadly, lockdown and families suffering from financial crisis gave a boost to this practice. With everyone sitting at homes, it became easier for Bride Traffickers to get hold of these girls. The girls spending more time on their mobile phones during the lockdown could make them vulnerable and easy to fall into such traps.
According to the reports and information from the Human right activists, these girls belong to different religions like Christianity or Sikh, but most of them are Hindus. These girls who are merely in their teens are kidnapped, raped and married off to an elder man. Mainly between the ages between 12 and 25, these girls do not have anyone to fight for them as families suffering from financial crisis cannot afford to pay for it.
Neha, a Christian girl suffered such a fate when just at age 14, she was forcibly converted from Christianity to Islam and later married off to a 45 year-old man. Even his kids were twice her age.
These abductions are sometimes supervised by the family members itself. The needy families might also sell these girls to landlords in exchange to relief for their debts. The Human rights department of Pakistan revealed that these girls are often converted to Islam and are married to older men or the abductor himself might marry her.
The police do little to nothing in such cases. They do not want to get involved as even these corrupt police officers will benefit from it. The police, Islamic clerics and magistrates everybody benefits from the “Conversion.” This is a huge money-minting process.
Jibran Nasir, human right activist said that this is like a Mafia network. The goal is to secure virginal brides rather than to seek new converts to Islam. All to satisfy the older men with pedophilia urges.
Minorities in Pakistan are most vulnerable. They do not get treated well. These cases are not registered or investigated. The ones who raise their voice against the injustice are silenced by those in power. One cannot expect to get justice in Pakistan.
The US State Department listed Pakistan as the country with poor or no religious freedom. A country that is unsafe for minorities.