External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Tuesday took a jibe at Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan over the abduction and forced conversion of two Hindu girls in Pakistan’s Sindh.

In a series of tweets, Swaraj demanded that the Pakistani government ensure the girls are reunited with their families.

“The age of the girls is not disputed. Raveena is only 13 and Reena is 15 years old,” Swaraj said referring to the fact that the two Hindu girls were minors.

“Even the Prime Minister on Naya Pakistan will not believe that girls of this tender age can voluntarily decide about their conversion to another religion and marriage,” she tweeted taking a swipe at Khan’s popular slogan.

Swaraj added that “Justice demands that both these girls should be restored to their family immediately”.

 

The girls were kidnapped from their home in Dharki town of Ghotki district of Sindh by “influential men” on the eve of Holi.

The police in Pakistan tried to brush the matter under the carpet but were forced to act following protests by Pakistani human rights groups and the families of the girls. Pakistani lawyer and activist M Jibran Nasir tweeted on Saturday, 23 March, that the family of the girls had filed an FIR with the local police “abducting to compel to marriage”.

Soon after the incident, a video went viral in which a cleric was purportedly shown solemnising the Nikah (marriage) of the girls.

According to Pakistan Today, the police claimed that the girls converted on their own free will and said this on record in a video.

But The News International, a leading Pakistani daily, pointed out that “forced conversions are too easily – and too often – disguised as voluntary conversions”.

On Sunday, 24 March, Swaraj sought a report from the Indian High Commissioner in Pakistan over the abduction and forcible conversion of the two teenage girls.

Hours after Swaraj’s tweet, Pakistan’s Minister of Information Fawad Hussain Chaudhry tried to lecture India on treatment of minorities and called the matter related to the Hindu girls an “internal issue”.

Responding to his tweet, Swaraj shot back stating that Chaudhry comment only shows that he is “jittery” and is struck by “guilty conscience”.

“Mr.Minister  @fawadchaudhry – I only asked for a report from Indian High Commissioner in Islamabad about the kidnapping and forced conversion of two minor Hindu girls to Islam. This was enough to make you jittery. This only shows your guilty conscience. @IndiainPakistan,” tweeted Swaraj.

Read More: Forced conversion of Hindu girls: Sushma Swaraj slams Pakistan minister on Twitter

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has now ordered a probe into the incident.

According to reports in Pakistani media, the police on Sunday night detained seven people, including the man who assisted in solemnising the wedding. Raids were conducted in Punjab’s Rahim Yar Khan, where the girls are believed to have been taken following their abduction.

Reports say that the victims have approached a court seeking protection. The Islamabad High Court on Tuesday ordered the immediate recovery of the girls and keep the two girls in state custody.

The Dawn reported that most Hindu families in Pakistan live in Sindh and around 25 forced marriages take place every month in the Umerkot district alone.