Islamabad High Court orders state to take custody of Ghotki sisters

Islamabad High Court orders state to take custody of Ghotki sisters

Islamabad (Staff Report): The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Tuesday ordered the state to take over the custody and ensure protection of two underage sisters from Ghotki, who were allegedly forcibly converted from Hinduism and married to Muslim men.

On Monday, Reena and Raveena from Ghotki district of Sindh, who were allegedly abducted, forced for conversions and marriages, approached the IHC seeking their protection.

They had pleaded to the court to restrain the government, police and their family from forcing them to return "and their forceful reversion to Hindu religion".

IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah heard their petition. The court, directing that the safety of the two teenage girls be ensured, the court ordered that the Islamabad deputy commissioner and director general human rights take over their custody.

Justice Minallah remarked that the girls cannot be taken to Sindh till the matter is in court.

The court further directed that the report of the inquiry ordered by Prime Minister Imran Khan be submitted till April 2.

The girls’ petition nominating Interior Ministry, Sindh Chief Minister, IG Sindh and Punjab, MNA Ramesh Kumar and Hari Lal, stated that propaganda being aired against them have endangered the lives of their families.

Both the sisters were inspired from the Islamic teachings for long but never disclosed in public due to safety concerns, the petition added.

The sisters converted to Islam on March 23, 2019.

The petitioners said that they accepted Islam with their choice and requested for protection from the security authorities.

Earlier, Police arrested at least seven people, including a Nikah Khwan (marriage officiator), suspected of involvement in the alleged abductions, forced conversions and underage marriages of two minor Hindu sisters.

According to police, several raids were conducted in Punjab's Rahim Yar Khan district, where it was believed the girls were taken from Ghotki, and arrested the Nikah Khwan who solemnised their marriages, a leader of the Pakistan Sunni Tehreek, and some relatives of the two men who had married the two girls.

On Sunday, Prime Minister Imran Khan took notice and directed the Punjab and Sindh governments to launch probe into reports of abduction, forced conversion and underage marriages of two teenage Hindu girls.