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Hindu sisters not forcibly converted, allowed to live with husbands: Pak court

Press Trust of India  |  Islamabad 

A Pakistani high court on Thursday declared that the two Hindu teenage sisters were not forcibly converted from to Islam, and permitted them to live with their spouses, according to a media report.

The two girls, Raveena (13) and Reena (15), and their spouses petitioned the on March 25 against alleged harassment by police days after their father and brother alleged that the girls were underage, abducted, forced into changing their religion, and then married off to Muslim men.

In their plea, the girls claimed that they belong to a Hindu family of Ghotki, but converted willfully as they were impressed by Islamic teaching, Dawn reported.

The for the girls' parents, however, asserted that the case pertained to

constituted a five-member commission to probe whether the conversion of sisters to Islam was forced or otherwise.

The commission comprising Human Rights Shireen Mazari, prominent Muslim scholar Mufti Taqi Usmani, Human Rights Commission of Dr Mehdi Hasan, and veteran and human rights activist probed the matter and concluded that it was not a forced conversion, the report said.

The interior, Azam Suleman, apprised the the high court about the findings of the commission, and told the court that as per the commission's opinion, it was a facilitated conversion, the report said.

Rehman pointed out in court that "there is no law in against forced conversions" and sought a court decree in this regard.

Minallah remarked that the case of the sisters was a simple one and would have been decided in a day or so, but a commission comprising eminent professionals and scholars was constituted keeping in view the sensitivity of the case since "the court wanted to ensure this was not a forced conversion".

Regarding the issue of forced conversions, the court sought the commission's recommendations within four weeks and adjourned the case until May 14.

The teenage sisters were allegedly kidnapped by a group of "influential" men from their home in district in on the eve of Holi. Soon after the kidnapping, a video went viral in which a was purportedly shown soleminising the Nikah (marriage) of the two girls, triggering a nationwide outrage.

also ordered probe to ascertain if the two girls were abducted and forcibly converted and married.

A war of words broke out between India's External Affairs and Pakistan's over the reported abduction, and underage marriages of the two Hindu teenagers.

The spat started soon after Swaraj sought details from the Indian in into the reported abduction of two Hindu teenaged girls.

Swaraj tweeted that she has asked the Indian High in Pakistan to send a report on the matter.

form the biggest minority community in Pakistan.

According to official estimates, 75 lakh live in Pakistan. Majority of Pakistan's Hindu population is settled in province.

According to media reports, approximately 25 forced marriages take place every month only in district in Sindh province.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, April 11 2019. 15:55 IST