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Forced conversion is un-Islamic: Pakistan Senate

22 Jun 2016 | By Gaurav

The Pakistani Senate urged the government to adopt laws to protect the rights of women of religious minorities.

Senate Standing Committee on Religious Affairs' Chairman Hafiz Hamdullah said "forced conversion of girls to Islam is against the teachings of Islam and also a violation of laws."

The comments were made in light of the growing instances of religious intolerance and forced conversions in Pakistan.

In context: Pakistan's forced conversion row

DemographicsPakistan's demographics: An overview

Islam is the official religion in Pakistan; however, the constitution guarantees freedom of religion.

Pakistan is the 6th most populous country in the world and as of 2015 their estimated population was 191 million.

Muslims make up over 95% of the population, while Hindus and Christians make up 1.6% and 1.8% respectively.

Other religious minorities including Buddhists and Sikhs, make up the remaining 1.6%.

LawsFreedom of religion in Paksitan

Pakistan's original constitution did not discriminate between Muslims and non-Muslims.

However several amendments were made during Zia ul-Haq's regime which left minorities marginalized.

Pakistan's blasphemy laws forbid speaking against Islam or the prophet, however it has been used to persecute religious minorities as well.

The controversial Hudood ordinances, tried in special religious courts, do not recognize testimonies of non-Muslims in cases involving Muslims.

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Contradictions of religious freedom

Minority religious literature is freely available across Pakistan and foreign religious books are imported, subject to religious censorship. Under Hudood , if a Muslim man commits a crime against a non-Muslim woman in the presence of non-Muslims, neither the victim's nor the witnesses' testimonies are accepted.
Recent incidents of forced conversions

Recent IncidentsRecent incidents of forced conversions

In May 2007, a Christian community from in North-western Pakistan alleged that they were being threatened with death, unless they converted to Islam.

They said the authorities refused to recognize their complaints.

In June 2009, a Christian man was raped and murdered for refusing to convert to Islam.

In 2012, three Hindu women were allegedly abducted and forced to marry after being converted to Islam.

Is the Taliban to blame?

Pakistani authorities have alleged that the rise in religious intolerance is inextricably linked to the country's war on terror. Officials say that the rise of the Pakistani Taliban is responsible for the persecution of religious minorities.

14 Jun 2016Minority girl allegedly converted to Islam

A 17 year old girl from the Kalash minority in Pakistan was allegedly forcibly converted to Islam.

The news led to clashes in the Chitral region in North-west Paksitan.

Police were forced to fire gunshots to dispers mobs and take the girl to a safe location.

The incident reignited the debate over the marginalization and alleged persecution of religious minorities in Pakistan.

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Muslims also attack girl

The girl identified as Rina , said she had wilfully converted to Islam; however, after spending the first night with her family at a seminary, she returned home and wore her traditional attire, sparking more clashes as Muslims assumed she had given up Islam.

22 Jun 2016Forced conversion is un-Islamic: Pakistan Senate