Concern over forced conversion to Islam of Hindu girls in India
India has expressed “serious concern” over the alleged abduction, forced conversion to Islam and marriage of Hindu girls in Pakistan.
India made representations to Pakistan in early May, conveying its concern for the plight of religious minorities in Pakistan.
In response, Islamabad stated that the Pakistani Supreme Court had taken up the issue and that full protection was provided to minorities.
However on Thursday India’s Minister of State for External Affairs, E. Ahmed, asked that the government, “look after the well-being of its minority communities”.
Mr Ahmed added that it was the responsibility of the Pakistani government to discharge its obligations towards its citizens, including those from the minority community.
Concern was triggered when a 14 year-old girl was kidnapped from Pakistan’s Sindh province earlier this month.
The Union government also indicated that they may extend visas granted to Pakistani Hindu pilgrims in India.
It is thought that the Supreme Court will decide on extending the validity of visas for Hindus coming from Pakistan “on a case-to-case basis”.
However recently a total of 242 Hindu pilgrims travelling to India were detained at the Wagah border in Pakistan, despite having valid visas.
They were allowed to enter only after seven hours of interrogation.
In Pakistan Dr Fazl, a member of the Pakistan National assembly and sister of the Pakistan president also expressed concern over the treatment of minority groups in the country earlier this year.
She has received support from several members of parliament who have also called for new legislative measures to be taken to end forced conversions.