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Situation of women, girls in Pakistan critical – Report

The Human Rights Without Frontiers (HRWF), has said that the situation of women and girls in Pakistan, whether they are Hindu, Christian or Muslim, is critical.

HRWF stated this at a conference titled ‘EU-Pakistan: Human rights, Religious Freedom and the GSP+,’ which held at the Press Club in Brussels to discuss the grim situation of women and girls in Pakistan.

Asian News International reported that non-governmental organisations representatives in Belgium, Pakistan, Italy and the US participated in the event, addressing a series of serious issues.

“In Pakistan, there is an increasing issue with girls and women of minority religions, such as Hindus and Christians. Hindus make up about two percent of Pakistan’s estimated 220 million people, whereas Christians make up less than one percent,” HRWF said. “Pakistan is also confronting honour killings cases. Insights from the Common Freedoms Commission of Pakistan mention that there were 1,276 such homicides from 2014 to 2016. Even though the Pakistani Parliament passed a law that prohibits killings related to honour, they go on unabated, particularly in rural areas where many of them are not reported and remain unpunished,” HRWF also said.

“Pakistani women are being culturally treated as second-class citizens, especially when it comes to female education per cent, which is very low when compared to the literacy rate for men, which is 69 per cent.

Gender inequality is a global problem but in Pakistan, it is at the root of many issues. It is regrettable that due to widespread illiteracy and a gender-based bias, Pakistani society is largely ignoring the gender imbalance and the vicious cycle of violence.

Every year, there are reports of hundreds of forced conversion incidents. Most victims are from poor families and disadvantaged households.

“In the southern province of Sindh, which is home to nearly 90 per cent of the Hindu minority group, forced conversions to Islam of kidnapped Hindu girls and their subsequent forced weddings to Muslim men–usually to the abductors–are quite common.

“Unfortunately, forcible conversions have not been made illegal in Pakistan by any of the successive administrations. International reports recently said that at least 50 members of Hindu families in the Sindh province are known to have been forcibly converted,” HRWF further said.

Source: The Sun