LAHORE: After a year of conflicts, two sisters belonging to the Hindu community who converted to Islam last year and married Muslim men in Ghotk, Sindh, have finally reconciled with their families and the matter has now settled.
In March last year, the girls named Reena and Raveena were allegedly abducted and forcibly converted to Islam. Their elder brother claimed that the girls were underage and were unable to make such decisions.
In response, the girls had approached the Islamabad High Court (IHC) along with their husbands and had sought protection because they felt threatened for their safety. In their plea, the girls confessed of willingly embracing Islam and marrying Muslim men. After a detailed inquiry into the matter, the court said the two were adult enough to make their own decisions and that they were not forced to convert.
The teenagers had left their home on March 20 to be married in Punjab, where the law does not bar marriages of those younger than 18, unlike Sindh.
After the conversion, Raveena changed her name to Aasiya, whereas Reena was named Nadia. Aasiya was married to a young man named Safdar Ali, while Nadia tied the knot with Barkat Ali. Both the men were already married and the girls were taken as their second wives.
The marriages, however, did not take place smoothly as controversies continued to surround the couples. According to a Sindh government report submitted in the IHC, both the men had failed to mention their first marriages in their nikahnamas. What’s more, the first wives of Barkat Ali and Safdar Ali, in their official statements, expressed ‘serious concern’ over second marriages of their husbands without their consent, which is a legal requirement as per the law.
Reena and Raveena, however, say that they now live in the same house with the first wives and there are no conflicts.
“We have not faced any problems. Now I am also a mother to a son named Muhammad Owais,” she said.
Raveena stressed that she and her sister converted to Islam willingly and the undue media propaganda related to their forced conversions and marriages was untrue.
“Changing my religion was not an easy decision and my journey from Hinduism to Islam was very difficult in the beginning, but I am finally fine with the mercy of Allah.”
She said that her parents were really upset with her decision earlier but now that she is a mother, they have reconciled with her.
The two sisters said that Safdar and Barkat were friends and the two sisters made friend with them via the telephone.
“We used to talk on the phone with them and gradually fell in love,” she said. “As against the common belief, we both are happy, our husbands treat us well, and our in-laws respect us. No one has ever taunted us about our past,” Raveena said.
Despite Reena and Raveen’s success story, forced conversions of Hindu girls and marrying them off to Muslims men still remains a problem in Sindh and over the years, a number of cases have surfaced. It is pertinent to mention that both Raveena and Reena are devout followers of Mian Mithoo who is infamous for facilitating such conversions.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 5th, 2020.
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