‘Forced conversions, rapes of women daily occurrence in Pakistan’: India at UNHRC

Updated on Jun 23, 2021 01:29 PM IST

Badhe also said that Christians, Ahmadiyyas and Sikhs continue to face persecution in the hands of the majority.

Members of Pakistan Hindu Council hold a protest against the attack on a Hindu temple in the northwestern town of Karak, in Karachi in this file photo from December. (AP)
Members of Pakistan Hindu Council hold a protest against the attack on a Hindu temple in the northwestern town of Karak, in Karachi in this file photo from December. (AP)
By | Written by Shankhyaneel Sarkar | Edited by Amit Chaturvedi, Hindustan Times, New Delhi

India criticised Pakistan on Tuesday for increased attacks on religious minorities in the country and accused the country’s government of turning a blind eye to incidents of forced conversions, rape, abduction and forced marriage. India, while exercising the Right of Reply to the statements made by Pakistan at the 47th session of the Human Rights Council (HRC) at the United Nations in Geneva, said that attacks on minorities are occurring on a daily basis.

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“The plight of minorities in Pakistan is evident from their shrinking size. Forced conversions’ have become a daily phenomenon in Pakistan. We have seen reports of minor girls belonging to religious minorities being abducted, raped, forcibly converted and married. More than 1,000 girls, belonging to religious minorities, are forcibly converted in Pakistan every year,” Pawan Badhe, first secretary in India’s permanent mission in Geneva said during the session.

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Badhe also said that Christians, Ahmadiyyas, Sikhs and Hindus continue to face persecution in the hands of the majority. He said these communities face systematic persecution at the hands of the Pakistani government.

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“Systematic persecution of minorities, including Christians, Ahmadiyyas, Sikhs, Hindus through draconian blasphemy laws, forced conversions and marriages and extra-judicial killings, has become a regular phenomenon in Pakistan. Holy and ancient sites of religious minorities in Pakistan are attacked and vandalised,” Badhe further added.

Ethnic and religious minorities in Pakistan

Sindhis are the largest ethnic minority group in Pakistan followed by Pashtuns, Mohajirs and Baluchis. Hindus are the largest religious minority group in Pakistan followed by Christians, Ahmadis, Shias, Ismailis, Bohras, Parsis and Sikhs according to minorityrights.org.

Attacks on journalists, activists

During the session, India also criticised Pakistan for attacking journalists critical of the Pakistan government. Badhe said that Pakistan is turning into the land of enforced disappearances, extrajudicial killings and arbitrary detentions of political activists, students, journalists, human rights defenders and minority activists.

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“Pakistan now has a dubious distinction of being listed among the most dangerous countries for the practice of journalism. Journalists face threats, intimidation, are taken off air, kidnapped and in some cases killed in order to silence critics of the Pakistani establishment,” Badhe said.

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Pakistan’s Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) started investigating at least 12 journalists and activists for violations of the Electronic Crimes Act in 2020, according to a report by Human Rights Watch. The report also pointed out that several journalists, including some belonging to major news outlets, have faced sedition charges after being critical of the government.

(with inputs from PTI)

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