Religious Conversion sign now

Dear President Musharraf:

We are writing to you to adopt stronger laws and practices to protect human rights. In recent years, you committed yourself to protecting women from violence, in particular, implementing measures to eradicate honor killings. You stated that honor killings do not find any place in our religion or law, and that such crimes are murder and will be treated as such. Many years later, womens rights to life and security of person are still under threat with few avenues for redress or protection.

Sanno Amra lives in Karachis Punjab Colony along with his family. On October 18 Sanno found out that his three oldest daughters were missing. They registered a complaint with the local police but nothing happened. Within days, they received a package by courier containing three identical affidavits signed by their daughters, stating that they had converted to Islam of their own free will. The declaration concluded: That since my parents are Hindu and after conversion of my religion, it is not possible for me to live and pass my life in Hindu system and therefore, I have decided to live separately...

On November 10, a court order directed the police and the administrators of the seminary to arrange a meeting between the girls and their parents. When Sanno and Champa finally met their daughters, they were shocked to see that they were in burqas that concealed them from head to toe, leaving only their eyes uncovered. The eyes of the youngest girl were bloodshot from weeping. At this supposedly private meeting, a dour woman was present throughout as were a moulvi and a couple of cops. In subdued voices muffled by heavy fabric, the girls said they wanted to stay where they were.

Since their daughters left, Sanno and Champa have not returned to their jobs. They stay at home with Suraj and Arti, their young son and daughter and wait for news. Apart from their neighbors, they have also been isolated by their own community. According to Sanno, other Hindus look down on them because of their girls apparent conversion. Face, that most pernicious of Asian values, has been lost.

http://www.dawn.com/weekly/mazdak/mazdak.htm

We request the government of Pakistan to bring its domestic law and practice into compliance with its international human rights obligations and demonstrate its commitment to eliminating violence and discrimination against religious minorities by implementing the following recommendations.

Reunite the sisters Reena, Usha and Reema with their parents
Ensure that violence against religious minorities is promptly investigated by police and perpetrators are prosecuted by the criminal justice system

We thank you for your attention and look forward to your action on these critical human rights matters.

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Seth HuffmanBy:
City LifeIn:
Petition target:
Govt of Pakistan

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