A seminar titled “Forced Conversion of the Religion and its Reality” was held by the Islamabad Bar Association under the leadership of Mian Abdul Haq Mithu, a notorious cleric known for promoting heinous crimes, ingrained animosity, and indifference towards minorities, particularly Hindu and Christian girls.
Senator Mushtaq Ahmed Khan of Jamaat-e-Islami, research scholar Nadeem Gilani of the Institute of Policy Studies, and Dr Akramullah, secretary of the Council of Islamic Ideology, also attended the conference. Just Earth News (JEN) reported that the chief guest of the seminar was Mian Abdul Haq Mian Mithu, the cleric known to be one of the most dreaded persons in the life of Hindus and Christians in Pakistan.
Notably, Mian Abdul Haq Mithu has also been sanctioned by the United Kingdom (UK) over allegations of forced conversions.
The JEN reported that he is so notorious in helping predatory men against innocent Hindu girls that he has been labelled as a “conversion factory”.
He achieved notoriety in 2012 when he forcibly converted a Hindu girl named Rinki Kumari in February 2012.
Rinki Kumari was kidnapped, raped, and converted by a Muslim man. Mithu gained notoriety in 2019 for organising a rioting crowd in Sindh’s Ghotki district.
The riot was engineered over allegations of blasphemy against a Hindu school principal. Hindu temples, the principal’s house and several houses of Hindus were set on fire by the mob egged on by Mithu.
His popularity had become so widespread that he was wooed by several mainstream political parties, including Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf.
A Pakistan TV channel, Naya Daur, had described the cleric as belonging to an influential family in Sindh with links to political and religious figures in the province. He is also the custodian of the Bharchundi Sharif shrine in Sindh.
“Inviting Mian Mithu to the seminar on forced conversion is like inviting a wild animal to a civilised gathering. Mithu has been involved in the forced conversion of scores of Hindu girls,” the JEN said.
Recently, Pakistan was heavily criticised by UN human rights experts for allowing such a crime against humanity to continue with direct or indirect complicity.
The Pakistan Human Rights Commission in its report titled, A Breach of Faith: Freedom of Religion or Belief in 2021-22, pointed out that the “incidence of forced conversions in Sindh has remained worryingly consistent”.
Mian Mithu’s infamy in these cases warrants greater scrutiny.
Senator Mushtaq Ahmad, another guest at the seminar, has time and again strongly opposed any attempt to bring in anti-conversion laws. His argument has been that such laws were anti-Islam and that there were no forced conversions.
He chastised the Hindu girls for fleeing their impoverished families rather than predatory Muslim males who kidnap young girls of their choice, rape them, and force them to convert.
He has supported the abduction, rape and conversion of several hundred Hindu and Christian girls in the past.
As a member of the National Assembly, he has been at the forefront of challenging any law proposed to protect minority women.
The coming together of these elements to campaign against forced rape and conversion of minority girls underlines the perversity that exists in today’s Pakistani society.
The fact that lawyers in Islamabad were organising such seminars establishes the deep support such heinous crimes have in civil society.
Over a thousand Hindu and Christian, girls are raped and converted yearly, most in Sindh. With the support of influential religious leaders like Mian Mithu and Senator Mushtaq Ahmed Khan, the Muslim men and their families get away scot-free.
Not one such predatory male or their family have been prosecuted.
According to Just Earth News, the higher courts and even the police have sided with the males, blaming birth certificates and other legal issues on families and women, while the men themselves have been backed by the police.
(With inputs from ANI)