CHINGARI: A Global Campaign for Hindu, Sikh Girls Abducted in Sindhudesh (Pakistan)

A voice of Minority Persecution in Islamic Nation of Pakistan

The demographic shift in the Hindu population of Pakistan has seen a drastic decline from 12.9% in 1947 to merely 2.14% in 2017. Concentrated primarily in four districts (Umerkot, Tharparkar, Mirpukhas, Tando Allahyar) within the Sindh province, the Hindu community’s roots in this region date back to the era when Sindh, previously known as Sindhudesh, was a Hindu territory until the rule of Raja Dahir in 711 AD. Subsequently, the British Empire occupied the province, and upon partition in 1947, it became a part of Pakistan. However, since then, successive Pakistani regimes have subjected the Hindu population to systematic discrimination, often at the hands of the Punjabi-dominated Pakistani Army. Despite contributing significantly, accounting for 63% of the revenue, the central leadership has imposed Urdu over the Sindhi-speaking populace of the province, further exacerbating tensions.

The cultural genocide and persecution of religious minorities, including Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists, and Christians, persist through various means such as rape, abduction, and forced conversion of minor girls. Reports from the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) indicate that approximately 1000 women are abducted, sexually abused, and converted to Islam annually. The institutionalized forced conversion of religious minorities is facilitated by entities like the Dargah Bharchundi Sharif seminary, where individuals like Mian Abdul Haq, also known as Mian Mithoo, spearhead conversion efforts with the backing of the Pakistani Judiciary.

In response to these atrocities, the “CHINGARI” Project (Coalition of Hindu Girls Abducted and their Rights) was initiated on September 18th, 2021. Leaders and community members from various cities worldwide gathered to stand in solidarity with young Pakistani Hindu, Sikh, and other religious minority girls who are often abducted, married off to much older men, and prohibited from reuniting with their families. This social justice campaign aims to raise awareness among Hindus globally through informational advocacy, community outreach, and research. The CHINGARI team collaborates with Hindu Policy Research and Advocacy Collective (HinduPACT) to draw attention to the plight of these innocent girls and highlight seven decades of relentless deprivation of livelihoods, property, and basic rights based solely on religion.

Moreover, the Pakistani government’s collaboration with China through projects like the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) raises concerns about the exploitation of Sindh’s natural resources and farmlands. The region has been earmarked for industrialization, potentially altering the demographic landscape and subjecting Sindhis to what could be likened to colonial treatment, with the possibility of becoming laborers for Chinese interests. The growing call for an independent “Sindhudesh” gains momentum amid crackdowns by the Punjabi-dominated Pakistani army on Sindhi nationalist leaders, activists, and students, many of whom are subjected to enforced disappearances, imprisonment, or torture. Such colonial-like treatment of the Sindh province raises fears reminiscent of the events leading to the separation of East Pakistan (Bangladesh) in 1971.

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