Pir Abdul Haq, alias Mian Mithu, specializes in marrying off Hindu women to Muslim men in Pakistan and converting them to Islam simultaneously. His certificates preceded court verdicts before the partition of British India. “Even at that time, my father was jailed for four months when the local Hindus protested. The British gave us a logbook to keep a record of newly converted Muslim girls or any person and share its receipt,” he said at a Sept. 15 press briefing.
“I don’t return Hindu girls even if their community offers money. My faith is bigger than millions. I even refused Asif Ali Zardari [former president of Pakistan] on this issue. Do whatever you want, I told his minister. Allah will help me. I am performing his duty. I live and die for Islam.
“Girls, most of them housemaids, often come to us. Urgent marriages are organized so that they can live with a mehram [male guardian]. We keep the couple until the husband gets a job. I guarantee them protection at the seminary. Many courts forcefully return girls to Hindus. Those who protest these conversions have an agenda to defame Pakistan.”
Another speaker accused the Catholic bishops’ National Commission for Justice and Peace (NCJP) of getting foreign funding and raising an outcry. Their annual monitor is based on media reports of alleged victims of forced conversions, he said.
Mithu, 85, is the custodian of Dargah Bharchundi Sharif seminary, one of two major hubs in Sindh province for converting religious minorities to Islam. The former member of the National Assembly was a candidate of Zardari’s Pakistan People’s Party at the 2008 general election. In 2017, his photos with Prime Minister Imran Khan went viral on social media. He also leads mobs over blasphemy allegations.
“Women of this country, especially non-Muslim women, and especially underage girls, don’t stand a chance,” author Maria Rashid said in a recent tweet sharing photos of Mithu with Khan and Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa.
The Council of Islamic Ideology invited him to discuss forced conversions during a session. The Ministry of Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony later rejected a bill that proposed regulations on conversions to Islam. On Sept. 24, Lahore High Court ruled that Muslim jurists regard the mental capacity of a child as of crucial importance for conversion to Islam. The age of discernment is generally reckoned as the age when one attains puberty, said Justice Tariq Nadeem while dismissing a petition filed by Gulzar Masih, a rickshaw driver from Faisalabad seeking recovery of his daughter Chashman Kanwal.