Abduction and forced conversions to Islam are unfortunately common for religious minorities in Pakistan. A recent survey shows that nearly 1,100 women from Pakistan's Christian and Hindu communities are abducted, raped and forcibly converted to Islam every year. One case that made it to court was that of Charlet Javed, 15, a Christian from the city of Faisalabad in the east of Pakistan, who was kidnapped, raped, forcibly converted and married to a Muslim man in February.
“They forced me to become Muslim and married me off to a man named Zafar,” she told the Lahore High Court in April during a hearing on a complaint of kidnapping filed by her father, Javed Masih. “I ran off from the house where they kept me, and now I want to live with my parents.
“I am still a Christian,” she added.
Locals from Sindh province say that one reason the practice not only persists but is escalating is that powerful officials run the Muslim shrines and seminaries where Muslim clerics are converting and marrying off these girls.
They are shielded by the government, which is afraid of upsetting them in the tense, often volatile environment of Pakistani politics, in which an attack on a religious figure is seen as an attack on Islam and liable to draw out extremists.
Kohli, meanwhile, said the conversions operate like a factory assembly line.
“With the number of cases and with the impunity these cases have, it is evident that the forced conversions (are) a business being run like a factory,” she said.
Mian Abdul Haq, also known as Mian Mitho, a local political and religious leader in Sindh, is allegedly responsible for numerous forced conversions of girls, according to victims’ families and activists.
As Christians human rights activist, I was and I am always very concerned about the plight of Christians in Pakistan and I was proactive in promoting the rights of the minority communities in the country and persecution on the hands of the extremists.
Now the situation of Christians in Pakistan has become even worse; Christians are living under the constant threat of fundamentals Jihadists who are increasingly targeting churches in Pakistan with bomb blasts and suicide attacks. Sadly, the Pakistani authorities have failed to provide adequate security to churches and to individual Christians in Pakistan.
Young girls about 12 to 19 years are kidnapped, raped and forcibly converted to Islam, and if a Christian boy or man get married to a Muslim girl then the whole city, village or colony will be burnt. this leads to genocide of Christians and other minorities in Pakistan.
British Foreign Secretary 'deeply disturbed' by number of Christians being persecuted for their faith
A latest report from the Foreign Office on the state of democracy and human rights around the world says; Jeremy Hunt has reiterated his commitment to addressing the global persecution of Christians in a new report from the Foreign Office on the state of democracy and human rights around the world.
The Foreign Secretary said in the preface to the report that he was "deeply disturbed" to learn that 215 million Christians faced persecution last year, according to figures from Christian campaign group Open Doors.
"I am not convinced that our efforts have always been commensurate with the scale of the problem or the empirical evidence that Christians often endure the greatest burden of persecution," he said.
"We must never allow a misguided sense of political correctness to inhibit our response."
He added that protecting human rights and safeguarding British values were "not optional extras" for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO).
"They are part of who we are. I am determined that British diplomacy will continue to uphold the principles of humanity and fairness that our country has always stood for," he said.
Mr Hunt launched a review into persecution earlier this year, overseen by the Bishop of Truro, the Rt Rev Philip Mount Stephen.
The findings of the review are expected to be released in mid-July but an interim report has already warned that the level of persecution being experienced by Christians is coming close to "genocide".
The latest Human Rights and Democracy report, which is released each year by the FCO, said that it was "of increasing international concern" that some countries are falling short on their obligations to uphold the right to freedom of religion or belief.
"Violations in 2018 ranged from inhibiting the freedom to worship, for example in the Maldives and Russia, to discrimination or targeted attacks against members of minority groups because of their religious identity, such as in Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, and Burma," the report states.
Christian women and children are "particularly vulnerable" and "often subjected to sexual violence as a result of their beliefs", it warned.
In his own foreword to the report, Lord Tariq Ahmad, the UK Government's Special Envoy on Freedom of Religion or Belief, said he was "determined to extend that freedom and champion the rights of people, no matter where they live or who they are, or what their belief."
He said the UK Government was taking a "3-pronged approach" to challenge states that violate or fail to protect human rights, to "work constructively with those that are open to change", and collaborate with governments, international organisations and civil society groups that share the same aims.
Countries highlighted in the report include Pakistan, where it noted "the misuse of blasphemy legislation, and in particular the "Case of Asia Bibi". There were also "recurrent" reports of forced conversions to Islam and forced marriages to Muslim men of Hindu and Christian women.
"The UK government regularly applied diplomatic pressure on countries which abused their blasphemy laws to target religious minorities," the report said.
"These diplomatic efforts were often not publicised because of the sensitivity of the issue, and of the need to protect those abused and persecuted.
"The UK did make public statements where we judged doing so was in the best interests of victims, for example when Lord Ahmad met Pakistan's Human Rights Minister to call for the protection of members of religious minority communities and raised specific cases and concerns."
In 2019, the report said that the UK was continuing to support projects in Pakistan aimed at improving awareness of modern slavery, and promoting religious tolerance and diversity.
It is a sadly recurring phenomenon, and not just in Pakistan: “To compound the matter, the majority of victims claim that Pakistan’s police force is often unhelpful and regularly sides with the kidnappers because of their shared religious identity.” Pakistan’s small Orthodox Christian community is as vulnerable to this persecution as are all the rest of Pakistan’s Christians. The ongoing mistreatment of Christians and other religious minorities in Pakistan is an ongoing issue of immense importance that receives scant attention from the UN or international human rights organizations. Please pray that this will change, and that relief will come to this courageous and long-suffering Christian community.
Though these incidences are not shared by major media, violence — including torture and murder — against Christians around the world is at historic levels.
I can give the reference of April 2019 study commissioned by the United Kingdom’s Foreign Office echoed this assessment, noting Christians are “by far the most persecuted” religious group and are experiencing what amounts to genocide in some parts of the world.
We have to take stand against such circumstances otherwise it would be too late to overcome the situation.
(Thanks to source been used)