“Forced conversion is a hoax that has no proven factual basis at all but is used to damage the image of Pakistan, its society, and the state.”
This was the view of a group of academics, activists, and civil society members who had gathered on Monday to question the nature of religious conversions in Pakistan, and more particularly in Sindh.
Mian Abdul Haq alias Mian Mitho of Bharchundi Sharif (Ghotki) was also present and had to respond to several striking questions on his role in such conversions and the allegations leveled against him of forcibly converting scores of individuals to Islam.
Mian Aslam, son of Mian Mitho and a lawyer himself said that it was against Islam to forcibly convert a person, but when a person is voluntarily converting to Islam, he or she should not be allowed to be pressurized, victimized, and obstructed by his or her peers and society.
“I confess that not even a single person has accepted Islam on my persuasion, but the people who are inspired by Islam and its socio-cultural tenets come to us for conversion and for protection against the patriarchs and their religious elders”, Mian Mitho said.
Ghulam Hussain, a researcher at the Institute of Policy Studies (IPS) disclosed that he had studied several NGO reports in search of some evidence that supports the allegation of forced conversions in Pakistan but had found no “verifiable evidence”.