13yr old Christian child abducted, forcefully married to a Muslim Man in Pakistan

Religious discrimination is a never-ending issue in Pakistan which has been running since 1947 and there is no remedy till now. Pakistan has over 20 crores population, out of which around 3.4 million people belong to the Hindu community and the majority of which are Dalits or people of Scheduled Castes.

Minorities have never been treated equally in the country, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan promised to eradicate this issue but hasn’t chalked out any plan for the minorities so far. Even under his leadership, so many Hindus are still going through painful torture like the religious conversion (Hinduism to Islam) and forced marriages to elderly men.

In yet another shocking news in Pakistan, a 13-year-old Christian girl was forcibly converted to Islam and married off to a Muslim man. Meanwhile, a Sindh High Court has given the custody of the girl to her husband saying she accepted Islam willingly.

According to local media reports, the girl had accepted Islam willingly, and did not claim to have been abducted or forced to marry. A video, which is going viral on social media, shows her family pleading and trying to convince her to tell the truth and go home with them. However, the teen continues to maintain that she married of her own will and was not lured by money.

The girl – Arzoo Raja was reportedly abducted from her home on October 13 in Karachi’s Railway Colony. Following which, an FIR was registered at Sindh court. Even if the marriage wasn’t forced, it certainly is illegal since she is still a minor.

Pakistan Minister for Science and Technology has raised questions on the court’s decision. In a tweet, he said, “Honorable CJP this requires a thorough inquiry into loopholes in elevation system of Judges decision is contempt of Pakistan Justice system….”

Arzoo Raja, a 13-year-old Christian girl was forcibly abducted allegedly by Ali Azhar, a 44-year-old man in Karachi, Pakistan. Arzoo was converted to Islam and reportedly got married to her abductor.

Various human rights organisations have demanded justice for Arzoo Raja since. Naveed Walter, president of Human Rights Focus Pakistan (HRFP) said minority girls, particularly Christians and Hindus, are forcefully converted to Islam and made to marry Muslim men in the country. “Abduction, conversion and marriage on the same day is a common practice in such cases and it has happened with Arzoo also in the same sequence,” said Walter.

FYI, thousands of such abductions happen every year and hardly one of two cases draw media attention and this is a reality about how minorities are treated in Pakistan, which proudly calls itself a democracy. We are leaving it to your imagination about how Hindus are treated harshly.

Writer, historian, and activist Dharam Sikarwar is a very active author The Youth. He writes on national and international issues, environment, politics. He is an avid book reader as well.