'2,000 girls from minorities in Pakistan were forcibly converted to Islam through rape, torture'


Nearly 2,000 women and girls from various minority sects were forcibly converted to Islam through rape, torture and kidnappings, and 161 people were charged with blasphemy in 2011, according to a report.

The reports by the Society for the Protection of the Rights of the Child (SPARC) revealed that minorities made up to three to four percent of the country's population, but remain sidelined in state policies.

According to the Daily Times, in 2011, extremists killed Governor Salmaan Taseer and federal minorities minister Shahbaz Bhatti, as both advocated rights for minorities by calling for amendments in the country's controversial blasphemy law.

The report also revealed that there was rampant violence against children and showed that a total of 2,303 instances of sexual abuse were recorded from various parts of the country.

In majority of the cases, people close to the child (parents or relatives) or officials who are supposed to give them protection are the abusers, the report said.

For instance, policemen are involved in more than 60 percent of sexual abuse cases of street children. The number of acid attacks rose from 65 to 105 in 2011. A majority of the acid attacks involve women and girls between the ages of 15 and 25.

The report by SPARC revealed that most of the children working as domestic workers in Pakistan are aged between 10-15 years, sometimes children as young as five are also employed.

Pakistan ranks second in the global ranking with the highest number of out-of-school children with the figure estimated to be about 25 million, the report said.

Pakistan has the lowest youth literacy rate. Only 59 percent females are literate as compared to 79 percent of males in the age group of 15 to 24 years, it added.

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