The concept of minorities does not sit well in Pakistan, the recent Asia Bibi's blasphemy case adds volume to this claim, and now the case of forceful conversion of two Hindu teenagers to Islam.
The Islamabad High Court on Tuesday ordered to provide official protection for the two in concern to their safety as the authorities widened a probe to ascertain if the teenagers were abducted, forcibly converted and married off.
The two girls, Raveena (13) and Reena (15), were allegedly kidnapped by a group of "influential" men from their home in Ghotki district in Sindh on the eve of Holi. Soon after the kidnapping, a video went viral in which a cleric was purportedly shown solemnising the Nikah (marriage) of the two girls, triggering outrage.
The Pakistan High Court on Tuesday heard the petition filed on the behalf of the sisters who were forced to convert from Hinduism to Islam. The petition supposedly filed by the girls and their spouses have sought protection to their lives.
Taking a close look at the petition, here is what it said:
Chief Justice Athar Minallah heard the case about the controversy over the conversion of the two Hindu girls from Ghotki area of Sindh province and their marriage with Muslim men. The judge after the hearing of their petition handed over their custody to Deputy Commissioner Islamabad and Director General Human Rights.
On March 20, the girls' family lodged an FIR against their alleged forced conversion to Islam.
In an attempt to mount diplomatic pressure, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj engaged in a Twitter spat with Pakistan's Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry regarding the case after, Swaraj sought details into the reported abduction.
She raised her voice saying, "Even the Prime Minister of Naya Pakistan, (Imran Khan) will not believe that girls of this tender age can voluntarily decide about their conversion to another religion and marriage.
Pakistan PM Imran Khan silence comes despite the electoral promise of his party to stop the forcible conversion of Hindu women. The Human Right Commission in Pakistan has reported than monthly at least 20-25 young Hindu girls are abducted and converted.
In 1951, Pakistan had 15% Hindus but by 1998, that population had shrivelled to 1.6%. Hindu makes the biggest minority community in the neighbour country and according to media reports, approximately 25 forced marriages take place every month only in Umerkot district in Sindh province.
(With PTI inputs)