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Agencies
March 25, 2019

Pakistan, India in war of words over Hindu girls issue

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A
Agencies
March 25, 2019

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and India were in war of words on the issue of alleged abduction of Hindu girls and their alleged forced conversion to Islam in Sindh.

Minister for Information Fawad Chaudhry, responding to Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, said Prime Minister Imran Khan’s ‘Naya Pakistan’ was not Modi’s India, after she sought details from the Indian envoy in Pakistan on the reported abduction and forced conversion of two Hindu teenage girls in Sindh.

“Mam its Pakistan’s internal issue and rest assured it’s not Modi’s India where minorities are subjugated its Imran Khan’s Naya Pak where white color of our flag is equally dearer to us,” Chaudhry replied to Swaraj’s tweet, in which she said she had asked the Indian high commissioner in Pakistan to send a report on the alleged kidnapping and underage marriages.

“I hope you’ll act with same diligence when it comes to rights of Indian minorities,” the minister added in his rejoinder to the Indian external affairs minister.

The minister urged Sushma Swaraj to stand up for minorities in India. Fawad maintained he was happy that in the Indian administration, there were people, who cared for minority rights in other countries, “but we hope that their conscience will allow them to stand up for minorities at home as well.”

He emphasised Gujarat and Jammu must weigh heavily on the soul of the Indian external affairs minister. He asserted that minorities in Pakistan enjoyed equal rights, and the two Hindu girls issue was an internal matter of Pakistan.

Prime Minister Imran Khan has taken notice of the matter and directed Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar to immediately investigate the matter of reported abduction of two Hindu girls from Sindh and their shifting to Rahim Yar Khan.

Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said this in a tweet. The minister noted that if the reports were true, the prime minister had asked for early recovery of the abducted girls.

Fawad said the PM had also directed Sindh and Punjab governments to devise a common strategy about the matter and take concrete steps to prevent such incidents in future.

Fawad Chaudhry had also tweeted on Saturday that the government had taken notice of reports of the alleged forced conversion and underage marriages of the two girls in Ghotki.

His statement came in response to former Indian Supreme Court judge Markandey Katju, who had called out Prime Minister Imran Khan on social media.

“Sir! Notice has already been taken and Ministry of Human Rights has been asked for an inquiry ll update asap, rest assure its Naya Pakistan we’ll not allow it to become Modi’s India where rights of minorities have become a joke,” Fawad Chaudhry had replied.

Meanwhile, according to media reports, India has sent an official note to the Pakistan Foreign Office.

According to Indian media sources, the note was sent on Sunday asking for suitable remedial action be taken by Pakistan government to protect and promote safety, security and welfare of its own citizens, especially the minority communities.Meanwhile, the two Hindu girls, who were allegedly abducted and forcefully converted to Islam, approached a court in Bahawalpur seeking protection.

According to the family of the teenage girls, the sisters were abducted from Daharki in Ghotki district of Sindh, and forcefully converted to Islam before they were subjected to underage marriages. The incident came to light after the girls’ father and brother revealed the details in videos that went viral on social media.

In a separate video, however, the girls can be seen saying that they accepted Islam under their own free will.

Earlier today, the teenagers in question approached a court in Bahawalpur seeking protection, in a baffling twist of events that appears to contradict the family’s claims that they were abducted and converted to Islam and wedded off under duress.

Police have meanwhile arrested a man from Khanpur who is suspected to have assisted in the nikah of the girls. Meanwhile, Punjab Governor Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar said in a message on Twitter that the government is strictly against forced conversions. He said the government will make sure that these incident didn’t happen, however, India should refrain from meddling in Pakistan’s internal matters.

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