Human Rights organisation, Amnesty International took notice of life threats to Member of Sindh Assembly, Saleem Khursheed Khokhar for his vocal stance on the Rinkle Kumari case, and his call for Hindu women and girls to be protected from abduction and forced conversion to Islam.
In a press release on Friday, Amnesty called for urgent action from the public, urging them to write to relevant authorities including Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah, Sindh Inspector General Police Mushtaq Shah, asking for providing Khokhar and his family with adequate security, with guards who have been properly vetted. Investigation into the threats received by the MPA.
The NGO also urged people to demand that anyone who is responsible for threats to the MPA, other abuse against minorities including forced conversion and marriage, be brought to justice in trials that meet international standards.
Khokhar had told Amnesty International that had written to senior government officials that the police had failed to investigate the threat beyond registering the FIR. He said that the handful of security guards assigned to him by authorities are too few and may not have been adequately vetted to ensure they bear no animosity towards him, as they are Muslim and he is Christian.
Late last month, provincial legislature, Khokhar had presented a privilege motion in the Sindh Assembly against the SHO Clifton for not registering a First Information Report against people who have reportedly been sending him threats via text message.
In his privilege motion, the MPA had stated that he and his colleague, MPA Pitanber Sewani, had received text messages from an unknown number.
The message read: “Only Muslims will be allowed to live peacefully in this country. No one else will be allowed to live here with dignity”. Khokhar said that he received the message following his vocal stance in the Rinkle Kumari case.
Khokhar told The Express Tribune that he started receiving threats after the attended proceedings of the Rinkle Kumari case on April 18, 2012, and issued statements in the media condemning the ‘forced conversion’.
“I then started receiving text messages which read: ‘You should learn from the remarks of Chief Justice, and High Court, only Muslims are allowed to liver here. You should leave the country or you would be responsible for what happens,” Khokhar narrated.
He added that despite initial reluctance, a privilege motion in the Sindh Assembly got the police to investigate the matter. However, he alleged that PPP MNA from Ghotki, Mian Mithu had started lobbying against him, declaring him to be a Mossad (Israeli spy agency) and CIA agent.
Khokhar added that he was still receiving threats and there was real fear for his life.
The MPA had successfully contested on a ticket of the All Pakistan Minority Alliance (APMA), of which he was provincial president. Shahbaz Bhatti, the federal minorities minister who was killed last year, was the central president of the APMA.
Meanwhile, Sewani reiterated that they had received threats on their cell phones in the aftermath of the Rinkle Kumari case, warning him, and Khokhar from raising their voice against forcible conversion on the floor of the Assembly.
Sewani told The Express Tribune that after they introduced a privilege motion against threats, police had managed to trace the number to Ghotki. The MPA alleged that an influential person in Ghotki by the alias Mian Mithu was patronising people who were sending them threats and were behind forced conversion and marriage.
Sewani demanded action against those who were threatening him.