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Court forms commission to look into conversion of Hindu girls

April 2, 2019
 

Photo: AFP

The Islamabad High Court ordered on Tuesday a commission to be formed to investigate the alleged forced conversion of two underage Hindu girls from Ghotki.

During the hearing on Tuesday, Chief Justice Athar Minallah ordered that the commission will comprise Mufti Taqi Usman, human rights activist Khawar Mumtaz, Federal Human Rights Minister Shireen Mazari, Human Rights Commission of Pakistan Chairperson Dr Mehdi Hassan and advocate IA Rehman.

The court directed them to present their investigation report at the next case hearing on April 11. To gather the members of the commission will be the government’s responsibility, said the court.

A PIMS Hospital report was submitted, claiming that the girls are 18 and 19 years old respectively. The report recommended that dental and clinical tests be conducted to determine their ages. Their father, Hari Lal, pleaded to the court to form a medical board to determine their ages. His lawyer argued that the girls may be suffering from Stockholm Syndrome. The court approved his request.

The family of the two girls claims that they were kidnapped and forcibly converted and married to Muslim men. They say Raveena and Reena are 13 and 15 years old.

Related: Ghotki conversions: Editorial line on the dotted line 

The interior secretary has been summoned at the next hearing after failing to appear on Tuesday. Justice Minallah came down hard on the federal government representative, saying that if the federal government were taking this case seriously the secretary would be in court. He also slammed the absence of the chief secretary of Sindh.

Justice Minallah said the federal and Sindh governments are not taking the matter seriously. He asked where the inquiry report summoned by the prime minister was. The top judge told the federal government representative to “stop embarrassing himself”. The federal government has sent a representative who doesn’t even know what the court ordered, he observed.

When the interior ministry representative informed the court that they received the order yesterday, Justice Minallah told him to stop embarrassing the State.

Related: Two Hindu girls who converted to Islam will be provided security by federal government: court

 The lawyer representing the girls and their husbands requested that they be allowed to live with their husbands. He asked why they were not presented in court despite a previous order. They are currently being provided security by the federal government.

Justice Minallah also observed that there is an impression being created that people in Ghotki are being forcibly converted to Islam. We will end this impression, he said. He also asked why these incidents are only reported in Ghotki.

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