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Pakistan: Minority Rights Commission head says property of minorities worth PKR 27 billion recovered

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Islamabad | March 22, 2023 8:06:11 PM IST
Head of the Minority Rights Commission Shoaib Sadal on Tuesday informed Pakistan's Supreme Court that until now property belonging to minorities worth Pakistani Rupees (PKR) 27 billion has been recovered from illegal possession, The Express Tribune reported.

Shoaib Sadal told the two-judge bench headed by Justice Ijazul Ahsan that the provincial governments were not cooperating with the Commission with regard to the details of assets. He requested Pakistan's Supreme Court to direct the provincial governments and their police chiefs in that regard. In the court, Sadal informed the bench, which was hearing a suo motu case regarding the rights of minorities, that the Commission has presented its reply to the court. Justice Ijazul Ahsan said the court will hear the response of all respondents together, as per The Express Tribune report.

Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) lawyer Hafiz Ahsan Ahmed said several assets of the ETPB had been illegally occupied in various cities, which could not be retrieved despite various attempts, as per the news report.

Representative of the Hindu Council Ramesh Kumar claimed that the ETPB was showing a "dhram shala" as a commercial property, as per The Express Tribune report. A detailed report regarding the property of the Auqaf Department was submitted to the bench. The case was subsequently adjourned for an indefinite time.

Meanwhile, a news report said Hindus and Christians continue to live in fear as incidents of forced conversions of girls are on the rise in Pakistan, especially in Sindh, The Friday Times reported.

In March 2022, an 18-year-old Hindu girl was killed for resisting abduction, forced marriage and conversion of religion in Sindh's Sukkur district. Six months later, a 14-year-old girl was abducted, raped and converted to Islam, as per the news report.

The FIR was lodged after the court intervened. Later, the police recovered her and performed a medical test to determine her age. She was found to be minor and was sent to Dar-ul-Aman, The Friday Times reported.

A recent Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) report, titled 'A Breach of Faith: Freedom of Religion or Belief in 2021-22, states that around 60 cases of forced conversion were reported in the local media, of which 70 per cent were girls below the age of 18, The Friday Times reported.

The HRCP reported 21 cases of alleged forced conversion from Sindh in 2022, as per the news report.

The HRCP said forced conversions occur disproportionately among young girls from low-income families in the Hindu and Christian communities, their vulnerability compounded by their gender and class. (ANI)

 
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