The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information that a 14-year-old girl, from the Hindu religious minority community was abducted by Muslims and forcibly converted to Islam. When a police case was filed against the abductors the girl was produced before a Magistrate’s Court by the Muslims to record a statement that she has embraced Islam as her religion. The irony of the judicial process is that the judicial magistrate has accepted her subsequent marriage as legal in spite of the Pakistan law which does not allow the marriage of girls before the age of 16 years. Her age was forged from 14 to 18 by the police and perpetrators before the judicial magistrate who had never asked for evidence about her age.
The father of the victim received information from the police that girl has been shifted to the tribal areas of the Pakistan, close to Afghanistan border for nefarious designs.
The police took five days to file the First Information Report (FIR) providing good time to the perpetrators to manage a forced marriage. The three young sisters, their mother and one brother of the victim were terminated from the employment from the same factory where their sister was employed because the parents of the victim had mentioned the registration number of the car of the factory in which their daughter was abducted.
Rekha alias Pubi (14) was working at a factory for the manufacturing of bottles for beverages at Gadap Karachi, Sindh province. She was abducted by a driver, Mr. Ahmed Nawaz son of Mohib Ali, and factory supervisor, Mr. Asghar Din son of Khadin Shah, in the official vehicle of the factory at 5.30 PM when she was going back to her home with her three sisters and mother. Her father, Mr. Soda, use to pick and drop their family members, three sisters and her mother, from the factory. On the day of the incident, after dropping his two sisters by his motor bike at their house he returned to the factory and was told that Rekha has been forcibly abducted by the driver and supervisor in the factory’s vehicle to unknown place.
The brother, father and mother immediately rushed to the Gadap city police station, Karachi, to file the case of abduction of Rekha. The police refused to entertain the complaint and told them not to worry as she will be returned and the police will take action the next day. When the father and brother insisted that police should follow them as they would not be far from the factory, the police asked for money for fuel for using police van which was not possible from the poor family as they were from the Hindu minority group, the Kohli-Dalit and they have migrated from a remote area of Sindh province, the Mirpur Khas, where they were facing the problems after the recent flood.
The police took five days to file the First Information Report (FIR). The perpetrators and the owner after knowing that on November 5, 2011, the family of the victim successfully filed the FIR they quickly approached a judicial magistrate of Malir city, Mr. Naweed Asghar and took some workers from the nearby Madressa, the Muslim seminary and asked the court to accept the court marriage as Miss Rekha has embraced Islam and has changed her name from Rekha to Aasia. The judge never asked the girl if they did so of her own free will and approved the marriage. Her age was mentioned during the process as 18 because the magistrate told them that Pakistan law does not allow marriage of minors. At this moment the mother and other family member reached the court after knowing that she has been produced before the court but the magistrate did not allow them to meet Rekha. The workers from the seminary have also used force to push the girl into the van which was waiting outside the court. The lawyer from the perpetrators, Mr. Naeem Khan threatened before the magistrate that if they created problems over the change of religion then their two sisters will also face the same situation. The judge just ignored the threats.
Since November 5, 2011 her whereabouts are unknown. On the other hand the owner of the factory has terminated the employment of her brother, mother and three other sisters, who are minors, for mentioning the registration number of the car of the factory, saying that the vicitm’s family is destroying the honour of the factory.
It is also informed by the father of the girl that they have been told by seminary people that the girl has been shifted to a tribal area of Pakistan close to Afghanistan border. He apprehends that like other Hindu girls she would have been sold for nefarious designs.
This a common factor in the Sindh province that girls from the religious minority groups particularly from Dalit community of the Hindu, are abducted, raped and then sold for prostitutions. The Muslim Madressas along the borders with India are busy in this business and Sindh government though claims that it is in favour of minority rights never acted to stop such activities of the Muslim fundamentalists groups in its appeasement policies.
Every month in the Sindh province it is reported that more than 200 girls are forced to marry after their abduction and when perpetrators are caught or police reports are filed they use the fictitious marriage certificates from Muslim seminaries and courts have to follow them. Even the Chief Justice of Supreme Court has not taken the consent from the three Hindu girls when they were presented before the court and ordered the registrar to take their statement who recorded their statements before the police and so called husbands. Then on Friday prayers the chief justice has congratulated a perpetrator, the so called husband of one Hindu girl for converting the girl to Islam, the photo of the incident was published next day in many newspapers.