‘Surge’ in Pakistan of forcible conversion and marriage of girls to Muslim men

There has been a sharp increase in cases of abductions, rapes, forced conversions, and forced marriages of young Christian and Hindu girls in Pakistan in the first four months of this year, according to reports in local press.

The lack of accountability for perpetrators has been blamed for a surge in these types of crimes.

The Associated Press reported in 2020 that such crimes are endemic to Pakistan where each year, nearly 1,000 non-Muslim girls are forcibly converted to Islam, largely to pave the way for underage marriages that are non-consensual.

On 11 April 2024, UN experts expressed dismay at the continuing lack of protection for young women and girls belonging to minority communities in Pakistan. The UN Office of the High Commissioner summarized their report:

“Christian and Hindu girls remain particularly vulnerable to forced religious conversion, abduction, trafficking, child, early and forced marriage, domestic servitude and sexual violence,” the experts said. “The exposure of young women and girls belonging to religious minority communities to such heinous human rights violations and the impunity of such crimes can no longer be tolerated or justified.”