Sun, 29 Mar 2020

London [UK], Feb 17 (ANI): Human rights activists from Pakistan and members of the Indian community living in the United Kingdom held a protest outside Pakistan High Commission in London to seek justice for Mehak Kumari, a minor Hindu girl who was forcibly converted and married to a Muslim man in Pakistan's Sindh province.

The demonstrators called Pakistan an abuser of human rights and demanded justice for Mehak Kumari.

"We are gathered here to demand justice for Mehak Kumari and send out the message that she is not alone in her fight. We cannot stay quiet about the way Pakistan is treating its minorities," said a protester.

Mehak was abducted by a middle-aged man, Ali Raza, from the Jacobabad district of Sindh province on January 15. The girl said she was forced to accept Islam, causing a widespread furore among the Islamic fanatics.

"We are here to raise our voice for every minor girl in Pakistan who has faced injustice, who have been forcibly converted to Islam and then married to Muslim men," said another demonstrator.

The protest was organised by the Indian diaspora in the UK in collaboration with Lalkar Social Forum. Among the demonstrators included International Friends of Sindh organiser Mir Saleem, who travelled from Germany to participate in the protest.

Some Pakistani clerics want the minor girl dead after she retracted from her previous statement in the court, where she said that she had accepted Islam of her own free will.

The clerics blamed 14-year old Mehak of murtad, or an act of Apostasy, and are demanding death punishment, accusing her of insulting Islam.

Meanwhile, the court which is yet to announce the verdict has sent Mehak Kumari to a local Dar-ul-Aman in Larkana district of Sindh for eleven days.

Incidents of abduction and forceful conversion of Hindu and Christian girls are widespread in Pakistan. Such incidents have sparked widespread criticism as many victim families are forced to migrate in foreign countries, including India.

While the cases of forceful conversions have always existed in Pakistan, a significant spike has been registered lately. The fundamentalists who hold great sway in the country have been pushing for such practices and have been encouraging youth into doing so.

While Prime Minister Imran Khan has presented several narratives about the condition of minorities in Pakistan, a perennially unsafe and scared minority in Pakistan is a harsh reality. (ANI)

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