Thu, 01 Jun 2023

Islamabad [Pakistan], March 5 (ANI): A seminar titled "Forced Conversion of the Religion and its Reality" was organised by the Islamabad Bar Association under the leadership of Mian Abdul Haq Mithu, a notorious cleric involved in promoting the heinous crime, deep-rooted hatred and indifference against minorities, especially Hindu and Christian girls, Just Earth News (JEN) reported.

The meeting was attended by Senator Mushtaq Ahmed Khan of Jamaat-e-Islami, Nadeem Gilani, research scholar of the Institute of Policy Studies and Dr Akramullah, Secretary Council of Islamic Ideology.

JEN reported that the chief guest of the seminar was Mian Abdul Haq Mian Mithu, the cleric known to be one of the most dreaded persons in the life of Hindus and Christians in Pakistan.

Notably, Mian Abdul Haq Mithu has also been sanctioned by the UK over allegations of forced conversions.

The JEN reported that he is so notorious in helping predatory men against innocent Hindu girls that he has been labelled as a "conversion factory".

He achieved notoriety in 2012 when he forcibly converted a Hindu girl named Rinki Kumari in February 2012.

Rinki Kumari was abducted, raped and converted by a Muslim man. In 2019, Mithu came to notice for leading a rioting mob in the Ghotki district in Sindh.

The riot was engineered over allegations of blasphemy against a Hindu school principal. Hindu temples, the principal's house and several houses of Hindus were set on fire by the mob egged on by Mithu.

His popularity had become so widespread that he was wooed by several mainstream political parties, including that Imran Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf.

A Pakistan TV channel, Naya Daur, had described the cleric as belonging to an influential family in Sindh with links to political and religious figures in the province. He is also the custodian of the Bharchundi Sharif shrine in Sindh.

"Inviting Mian Mithu to the seminar on forced conversion is like inviting a wild animal to a civilised gathering. Mithu has been involved in forced conversion of scores of Hindu girls," the JEN said.

Recently, the UN experts on human rights had roundly blamed Pakistan for allowing such a crime against humanity to continue with direct or indirect connivance.

The Pakistan Human Rights Commission in its report titled A Breach of Faith: Freedom of Religion or Belief in 2021-22, pointed out that the "incidence of forced conversions in Sindh has remained worryingly consistent".

Mian Mithu's infamy in these cases warrants greater scrutiny.

Senator Mushtaq Ahmad, another guest at the seminar, has time and again strongly opposed any attempt to bring in anti-conversion laws. His argument has been that such laws were anti-Islam and that there were no forced conversions.

He blamed the Hindu girls for running away from their poor families rather than predatory Muslim men who pick up young girls of their choice, rape them and then compel them to convert.

He has supported the abduction, rape and conversion of several hundred Hindu and Christian girls in the past.

As a member of the National Assembly, he has been at the forefront of challenging any law proposed to protect minority women.

The coming together of these elements to campaign against forced rape and conversion of minority girls underlines the perversity that exists in today's Pakistani society.

The fact that such seminars were being organised by lawyers in Islamabad establishes the deep support such heinous crimes have in civil society.

Over a thousand Hindu and Christian girls are raped and converted every year, most of them in Sindh. The Muslim men and their families, with the support of influential religious leaders like Mian Mithu and Senator Mushtaq Ahmed Khan, get away scot-free.

Not one such predatory male or their family have been prosecuted.

The Just Earth News reported, leave alone the police, and even the higher judiciary have supported the men, blaming women and their families on the issue of birth certificates and other legalities. (ANI)

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