Waqas A. Khan

Waqas A. Khan

Minorities, Religion and the Duress

” Case of Forced-Conversions in Pakistan “

Forced Conversion is the selection of an alternate religion or irreligion under coercion. Constrained deserting of religion has been portrayed as “change to agnosticism”. The individuals who change over may eagerly grasp their new religion or irreligion, or may proceed, clandestinely, with the convictions and practices initially held, while apparently carrying on as believers. Crypto-Jews, crypto-Christians, crypto-Muslims and crypto-Pagans are historical examples of the latter. Since long, the mighty followers of a particular religion have been trying to force the weaker into their religion. To do this, they have their own “divine” logics. For example,

The most common logics for the same are given below.


“…seize them and kill them wherever you find them…” (Qur’an, 4:91).

Narrated Abu Huraira: The Verse:–“You (true Muslims) are the best of peoples ever raised up for mankind.” (3:110) means, the best of peoples for the people, as you bring them with chains on their necks till they embrace Islam. (Sahih Bukhari 6:60:80)


“When the Lord your God brings you into the land… and you have defeated them, then you must destroy them totally. Make no treaty with them, and show them no mercy. Do not intermarry with them…” (Deuteronomy 7:1-3)

“But those enemies of mine who did not want me to be king over them—bring them here and kill them in front of me.” (Luke 19:27)


In 2009, the BBC guarded a claim that in 524CE the Yemeni Jewish Himyar tribe, driven by King Dhu Nuwashad, offered Christian inhabitants of a town in Saudi Arabia the decision between change to Judaism or death and that 20,000 Christians had then been slaughtered expressing that inscriptions archived by the king himself demonstrate the colossal pride he communicated in the wake of slaughtering more than 22,000 Christians in Zafar and Najran. The claim was never rebutted or challenged.


Dharam Jagaran Samiti (Religious arousing advisory group), a Hindu dissident gathering partnered to the Hindu militant group Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and part of its group of associations Sangh Parivar, runs a program called ghar wapasi (“homecoming”), whose goal is to “reconvert” Muslims and Christians in India. Every one of the Muslims and Christians in India are imagined to be initially Hindus whose precursors had changed over to different religions. Along these lines, their forced conversion to Hinduism is viewed as a “reconversion” or “homecoming”. More than 9000 forced conversion cases of Muslims and Christians into Hinduism have been reported in India since 2013.

In January this year, parents of one of the forcedly converted over Muslim young lady in Uttar Pradesh, India, who calls herself Ameesha Thakur, a name given by her Hindu husband Arvind reported to the media that how she was kidnapped and converted and married to a Hindu. Right over the path is Ameesha’s maternal grandparent’s home, where her family doesn’t recognize her reality. Snatched three years back when she was only 13 and now hitched to a Hindu and living as one, she is not their little Zubeida Khatun anymore. But unfortunately, such events and incidents (although equally condemnable) do not get such popularity until they happen in Pakistan.

In Pakistan, this practice of forced conversion is not very new and can be traced back to 1947, the year of independence. With the developing bigotry in Pakistani society of religious minorities, confirm by the expanded viciousness, murder and oppression of religious minorities in the nation, constrained changes have risen as an exasperating pattern. There are various techniques utilized including utilization of drive and danger, mutual brutality, fortified work and other exploitative types of business and so on. One of the techniques is constrained to change through marriage i.e. compelling non-Muslim young ladies to wed Muslim young men and change their religion because of their marriage, and it has emerged with expanding occurrence being accounted for. 

As per a report of Aurat Foundation, roughly 1,000 young ladies are persuasively changed over to Islam every year. The overwhelming majority are the young ladies from the Christian and Hindu minority groups. There are genuine cases as well in which non-Muslim girls independently opt a conversion but this does not imply that forced conversions don’t occur. The numbers of reports prove undeniable evidence about this stressing and expanding event. On June 16, 2017, the family of an underage Hindu young girl from Tharparkar has asserted that she was abducted, coercively changed over to Islam and offered to a Muslim man. The young girl and her “husband”, be that as it may, have documented a request of in Sindh High Court looking for insurance and announcing the transformation and marriage consensual.

She was Ravita Meghwadh, a youngster, supposedly changed over to Islam on June 6 and changed her name to Gulnaz. On the very day, as per record, she wedded Syed Nawaz Ali Shah at the marriage recorder’s office in union council Samaro in Umerkot, as indicated by Shah and his family but Ravita’s family denies this and has blamed Shah for hijacking her.

Although present in other parts and provinces of the country, the majority of forced conversion reports come from the Pakistan’s southern province, Sindh.

Facts and practices are as follows;

  • 1. Young ladies from religious minorities are induced or kidnapped, changed over to Islam, and hitched to the abductor  without their educated and intentional assent.
  • 2. Much of the time, these young ladies are youngsters i.e. beneath the age of 18 years.
  • 3. The victim’s family documents a FIR against the conversion.
  • 4. The abductor may some of the time record a counter-FIR, blaming the young lady’s family for badgering the young lady who has’ determinedly’ changed over.
  • 5. The victim young lady is made a request to affirm before a judge whether she changed over and hitched of her own unrestrained choice.
  • 6. The young lady, for the most part, stays in authority of the abductor amid such procedures.
  • 7. As a rule, the young lady affirms that she adamantly changed over and assented to the marriage, the case is shut.
  • 8. Once a young lady expresses that she wedded of her own will, there is no further examination and so forth. Be that as it may, reports and explanations of young ladies who have gotten away from such circumstances, there are various variables which impact this “great declaration”. These include:
  • a. Hesitance of the police to enlist or examine wrongdoings; issues in recording of enrollment and; pressure on police from the radical Islamists to give proof or exclude proof to help the abductor and so on; the absence of sufficient assets, insurance or ability to have the capacity to work viably; and absence of powerful components to recognize police inclination or survey their choice.
  • b. The victim and her family are terrorized, left powerless in exploitative position. So they feel they have no other decision as they would confront additional mishandle.
  • c. Dangers of death with respect to her ‘reconversion to her previous religion’.

To overcome the practice, there are several laws that prohibit. These include Sindh Child Marriage Restraint Act 2013, Section 498B of the Pakistan Penal Code 1860 against constrained marriage, section 375 and 376 of the Pakistan Penal Code 1860 against rape, XVI-A of the Pakistan Penal Code 1860 to manage wrongful restriction and limitation, Section 365B of the Pakistan Penal Code 1860 for seizing, snatching or prompting a lady to urge for marriage and so on, Section 361 of the Pakistan Penal Code manages capturing or stealing from legal guardianship and Section 364A of the Pakistan Penal Code 1860 for grabbing or kidnapping a person less than 14 years old.

In November, 2016, The Sindh Assembly unanimously passed the Sindh Criminal Law (Protection of Minorities) Bill 2015. Under the bill, anybody found guilty of forced conversion could confront at least five years and a greatest of life in jail alongside a fine to be paid to the victim but religious parties in Karachi propelled a battle against the bill to pressurize the Sindh government into canceling it following to which even the government of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) of the late Benazir Bhutto had collapsed and chosen to change the bill, particularly the arrangement that settled 18 years as the base age for changing one’s religion.

On February 6, 2017, The National Assembly of Pakistan passed the Criminal Laws (Amendment) Bill 2016. This bill says that if a female child as characterized in the Child Marriage Restraint Act or a non-Muslim lady is compelled to marry, the blamed might be culpable with detainment for a period of ten years yet should not be under five years and might likewise be at risk to fine which may reach out to Rs one million.

But despite all these laws, the situation has not improved a bit and forced conversion continues due to the fact that the national and provincial governments in Pakistan are hostile to religious political parties in one way or the other. The only law acceptable for these religious parties (as they say) is Quran itself.

Quran says, “There shall be no compulsion in [acceptance of] the religion. The right course has become clear from the wrong. So whoever disbelieves in Taghut and believes in Allah has grasped the most trustworthy handhold with no break in it. And Allah is Hearing and Knowing.” (Al-Baqarah, 2:256)

And in Surah Az-Zumar [39:41] it says, “Surely We have revealed to you [O Muhammad!] the Book for the people with truth; so whoever follows the right way, it is for his own soul, and whoever goes astray, he goes astray only to its detriment; and you have not been put in charge of them”.

Do you believe in something else?

Hindu and Christian Pakistanis ask.

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Dr. Waqas A. Khan is a Journalist - Educationist - Lawyer from Kasur Pakistan.