KARACHI: Take a page out of Balochistan’s book and wake up to the injustices being done with the Hindus in Sindh was the message from a minority MPA to the government and political leadership during the Sindh Assembly session on Wednesday.
Pakistan Peoples Party MPA Pitanber Sewani appeared agitated when he reminded the government and its institutions not to force Hindus in Sindh to follow the path of Baloch nationalists who are waging “a war for their rights”.
Moving a resolution against post-marriage conversion of Hindu girls, Pitanber Sewani wanted the government to frame a law against the forced marriages.
During his fiery speech, he said that young Hindu girls are being kidnapped and converted to Islam after they are subjected to forced marriage with Muslim boys. He said that this practice has created resentment among the minority communities living in Sindh.
Referring to a recent incident in Mirpur Mathelo where a Hindu girl Rinki Kumari, 16, was allegedly kidnapped by a Muslim boy Naveed Shah, Sewani said: “These people kidnapped her at gunpoint a few days ago and presented her in a lower court after her marriage with Naveed Shah. We have no objection if a Hindu girl marries a Muslim boy of her free will. But Hindus will not tolerate forced marriages.”
He said he feared that a situation is being created which may force Hindus to leave Sindh, but, “they would prefer to die rather than migrate”.
In his resolution he requested the Sindh Assembly to approach the federal and provincial governments to make a law in order to stop “post-marriage conversions” of minorities in Sindh.
“Around 20 to 25 forced conversions take place every month in Sindh. If this situation continues, the Hindus will have no choice, but to resist,” he said. “Today we are fed up with the Baloch resistance movement, tomorrow we may be irritated by the Hindus as well.” He added that after the forced marriage some people have threatened her parents with dire consequences.
Later, talking to the media Sewani demanded the chief justice take sou motu action. “We are seeking the intervention of the chief justice on forced marriages as well as the frequent killings and kidnapping of Hindus in Sindh,” he remarked.
PPP parliamentary leader Pir Mazharul Haq said that a law already existed on forced marriages and he suggested to the Speaker to refer the resolution to the law department so it could to review its contents.
Bachal Shah, also of the PPP, said that there was nothing wrong if a Hindu girl married a Muslim boy without any pressure. “The Indian newspapers are full with reports everyday of Muslim girls entering into wedlock with Hindu boys,” Shah said while referring to the marriage of Suzanne Khan, the daughter of India film actor Feroz Khan with Bollywood star Hrithik Roshan.
Many other MPAs, including Marvi Rashdi of the PML-F, Saleem Khurshid Khokhar, Farheen Mughul and Humera Alwani of the PPP, spoke in support of free-will marriage and condemned forced ones.
However, MQM parliamentary leader Sardar Ahmed said the content of the resolution was not clear, as it did not specify the religion of women being forced to convert to Islam.
Sindh Law Minister Ayaz Soomro quoted Articles 20 and 36 of the Constitution to say that there was a law on the issue.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 1st, 2012.