The three young Hindu women who were allegedly kidnapped, forcibly converted to Islam and married off to Muslim men chose to live with their husbands instead of their families after the Supreme Court of Pakistan on Wednesday allowed them to choose their future.

Though the three women — Rinkle Kumari, Lata and Asha — were allowed to choose according to their free will by the court, their relatives and civil rights activists alleged that injustice had been done to them as they chose to go with the men they were married to out of coercion.

Their contention is that the three had been threatened by Pakistan People's Party parliamentarian Mian Mithu with dire consequences if they returned to their parents. The former federal Minister, Amar Lal, said though Rinkle Kumari and Lata were kept away from their families and husbands in a shelter home, Mian Mithu was able to access them over phone and had threatened to kill their families if they returned to their parents. Mr. Lal quoted Rinkle Kumari — whose case made it to the national media after she was allegedly kidnapped and christened Faryal Bibi — as saying she no longer had any hope from any institution as all of them had failed to protect her. “Rinkle said she was majboor [under compulsion] and threatened suicide,” he said, adding that she returned to her spouse to save her relatives.

Another civil rights activist Marvi Sirmed said unlike Rinkle Kumari and Dr. Lata, the third woman, Asha, did not even get the counselling time to weigh her options. Upset with the verdict, she said though the court allowed the girls the freedom to choose, it did not take into account the circumstances of this case; particularly since the Hindu community of Sindh lived in fear of such strategies being used to force them to leave the country.

What has also disappointed civil rights activists is that no enquiry has been ordered into the activities of Mian Mithu. Their fear is that this judgement will only strengthen his hands as the Hindus have exhausted practically all their options, though there is also the parallel view that the minority community may have made out a case of forced conversion as they were opposed to their daughters marrying Muslims.

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