Dear Pakistan and India, stop trying to convert your minorities

Published: May 8, 2017

So, it is not only in Pakistan that forced conversions take place.

My attention was recently drawn to a news story according to which non-Muslim employees of Mian Mir hospital in Lahore are forced to recite verses from the Holy Quran daily at the morning assembly. The news further stated that those who refused to do so were penalised by being marked absent for the day (and thereby losing a day’s wages).

If true, this is indeed shocking news. Once a non-Muslim says the words of the Kalima, he or she automatically is converted to Islam, and cannot go back to his or her original religion. It goes without saying that such men or women cannot continue living with their spouses or their parents. If they do, they are in danger of being labelled apostates and risk being lynched by infuriated mobs. Therefore, the hospital administration is violating the Constitution which guarantees religious freedom to the citizens.

I was reminded of the Christian school which I attended, where every morning and after every break the Catholic boys would recite the Lord’s Prayer, while non-Christian students would stand and merely listen. Of course, there was no attempt by the teachers to force the non-Christian boys to recite the words of the prayer, but some boys did so out of ignorance. Despite that, we used to feel very uncomfortable during the recitals, so I can understand how the non-Muslim staff of the Lahore Mian Mir hospital felt when they were forced to recite Quranic verses. Naturally, they protested and brought the matter to the attention of the authorities.

Some Indian relatives of mine visited Karachi recently and said that their children are being compelled to recite verses of Vande Matram, which is sung in praise of a Hindu goddess. They are also compelled to read the Ramayan, which is about Hindu gods and goddesses. The helpless Indian Muslim children have no choice but to submit, considering the highly charged atmosphere in today’s India, where there is a movement to declare India as a Hindu state, making Muslims and other minorities second-class citizens.

Recently, the government tried to pass a law making forced conversions a crime, but the religious lobby successfully resisted and the law has been shelved, and it is doubtful if it will ever be passed. Sometimes, Hindu and Christian women are kidnapped or raped and then forced to marry their rapists or abductors. There is a popular misconception in Pakistan that the population of women is greater than that of men. This is not true. According to available data, the male-female ratio in the country is 1.06, meaning that there are 106 men for 100 women in Pakistan (those clerics who advise Muslims to practice polygamy are apparently not aware of this fact). Perhaps it is due to the lesser number of women in Pakistan that non-Muslim women are kidnapped and forced to marry Muslim men.

But the situation is worse in India, where the movement called “ghar wapsi” (returning home) has been launched to convert all Indian Muslims and Christians to Hinduism by 2021 (four years from today). There is plenty of evidence to suggest that Indian Muslims are either being killed or converted en masse. Between 1991 and 2001, the number of Muslims in India increased by 45% over 10 years, but in the next decade, it only grew at 25%, as a result of which the Indian Muslim population in 2011 was only 172 million (it should have been 200 million if the growth rate had remained at 45%).

So, it is not only in Pakistan that forced conversions take place. But that doesn’t mean we should not take action to stop people like the Mian Mir Hospital administrator who are forcing non-Muslims to convert against their will. The government should take action to prevent this obnoxious practice from taking place.

Shakir Lakhani

Shakir Lakhani

Engineer, former visiting lecturer at NED Engineering College, industrialist, associated with petroleum/chemical industries for many years. Loves writing, and (in the opinion of most of those who know him), mentally unbalanced. He tweets @shakirlakhani (

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Fahim

    Muslims are no minority in India, they are acting like minoritiesRecommend

  • AD

    If majority in India say Hindus are converting minorities , then from which religion Muslim,Jain,Sikh,Christian,Budh came. The fact is in India the minorities have eroded majority religion in thousand of years, with swords,money n so many other ways. Recommend

  • AD

    Vande Matram is praise of Mother and Ramayan is local culture .Is it wrong to know your heros?Recommend

  • Solomon2

    No artist credit for the painting leading the article.Recommend

  • Peace Seeker

    Author says Muslims are growing by 25% highest among any other religion but still not satisfied. Words like Mass Conversion, killing sends unwanted hatred towards other community. To restrict the kind of slow growth people should have converted in Millions and Muslims hardly convert. Indian Muslims are becoming educated and having less children that can be the results not Mass Conversion or others has claimed by author.Recommend

  • vinsin

    What about TNT that you support? Your relative holding properties of Dalits and Migrants people of Pakistan that is OK with you? Ramayana was also taught in Pakistan till 1960 what is the problem in that? Vande Matram is not about Hindu Goddess. Muslims are given special status in India and they have been given Pakistan so what is the problem.

    How many are Hindus are given citizenship in Saudi Arabia? Your hatread towards minorities continues. You are asking why Indian Muslims not having more babies? Forced conversion in the name of Love Jihad continues in India.

    You can ask your relative to move to Pakistan.Recommend

  • gameplanner forgot the fact that Hindus in Pakistan till now have no right to register their marriages and denying them any legal rights.It is a direct message by Govt to convert to Islam.You should also know how many billions of dollars foreign aid is received by Muslim and Christian NGOs in India for sole purpose of conversions (and the reason why Govt of India banned such NGOs last year)..check the Indian population % religion wise in 1950 and today..Hindus % got shrinked ..45% population growth of Muslims ? LOL? Majority Indian Muslims are educated and not Madrassa breed children .Check Hindu and Muslim population growth rate in India..It is more than Hindus ( )Recommend

  • Paki Terrorist

    Very convenient for you Pakistanis, Mr Lakhani … just look at the Hindu population in your Pakistan, where they were in 1947 and where they are today … !! … after having systematically decimated the Hindus in Pakistan, now you are singing the song of ” not converting the minorities” … just because you do not want the same for the Muslims in India … ??!! … your intentions of writing this article is are crystal clear …Recommend

  • Soy

    So how about the Christians who go around the world converting the minorities of all countries??? Why don’t we hear any condemnation on that too???Recommend

  • Adeel

    The hospital authority must be brought to justice if they have done so. I am happy that such things aren’t done at larger scale in Pakistan like as in India it happens. We are tolerent and harmonious in terms of co-existence. Recommend

  • thenitish2312

    (A) There has not been a single credible report from India where girls from minorities have been forcefully converted by Hindus. Find me a single credible report of this. The article you link to is an article posted by a this Pakistani website and contains hardly any evidence.
    (B) Another fallacy in this article is that the muslim percentage growth during 1991-2001 was 45% in India. That’s just a plain lie. The percent growth for muslims in that decade was 29.3% and that has reduced to 24.6%, as the growth has also reduced for other religions. Hindus grew at 20% during 1991-2001 and their growth percent reduced to 16% during 2001-2011. So were Hindus being converted by muslims in India during this time?
    Meanwhile, here’s the data that Kerala government has released of the number of girls converted to Islam during 2006-2014: 2500 of them.
    (C) Atleast 1000 girls from minorities are converted in Pakistan every year. Nothing of this sort happens in India.

    The population percent of minorities in your country has not grown beyond 4% in 70 years! WOW!Recommend

  • dwind

    Muslims are carrying out a demographic war of aggression all over the world against the non-muslims. No mention of the prevented fact that Pakistan should have 24% hindus. Muslim population has overgrown in India whereas hindu population is dwindling in Pakistan. Lakhani shows as a typical muslim fascist in this article.Recommend

  • Critical

    If what he says is true, how come the percentage of minorities have more than doubled in the past 60 years in India while it has plummetted to less than 1% in Pakistan…

    This shows that Indians are not doing the job correctly…..Recommend

  • SomeGuyWithanOpinion

    Biased. The Muslim population slowed naturally due to a demographic transition, the same as Pakistan now and Bangladesh then. The Hindu population percentage declined considerably since 1941 in India Pakistan and Bangladesh. Only now they’re about to recoverRecommend

  • Rajdeep

    Yes, only in case of Pakistan, there are no minorities left and everyone has been converted or killed. And in India, there is no conversion happening. Stop spreading lies!Recommend

  • Hosur

    There is no conversion in India unlike muslim countries where the pressure is continuous and often threats as well.If it was,India would not have a large muslim population unlike Pakistan where Hindus and Christians are shrinking to the point of disappearing,Please get your fact before such statements are made.Recommend

  • Sarita Talwai

    The reason the population of the Muslims has fallen is obviously education and family planning. Migration to other countries should also be considered. Please do not give it a religious twist. Ghar wapisi has not been as successful as the conversions by evangelists, and the numbers of conversions from Hinduism to Buddhism ,Christianity and Islam can be verified from neutral search engines. The number of Hindus has fallen in Pakistan and a part of it can be attributed to migration to India and elsewhere. Ultimately the security and wellbeing of the minorities is the responsibility of the respective governments. To claim one upmanship is neither helping the issue nor resolving it. Every Indian, in his personal capacity, should bridge the gap of misunderstanding between communities, irrespective of the religion he belongs too. Every Pakistani too. To neglect what is going on in one’s own home and to celebrate the feeling of schadenfreude vis a vis the neighbour is the sure road too self destruction.

  • Test Test

    Absolute nonsense. Indian muslims are the fastest growing group in India and their growth rate is double the Hindu growth rate. Muslims in India have grown every decade and are now close to 14% from less 7% in the 1970s. So if someone says, muslims are being persecuted in India, its hilarious. Compare that with Pakistan where Hindus and Christians as a % of population is reducing year over year. Dont even compare and dont give false statistics.Recommend

  • Salim Alvi

    Christianity and Islam are not Dharma or way of life. They are tools of imperialists to enslave natives by dividing them. Native converts are made to lose their roots – culture, language, ancestral history. These native converts to Christianity and Islam side with the imperialist brutes who rape, kill and loot Indians. When India becomes completely Dharmic (Hindu, Jain, Boudh & Sikh) then it will progress immensely and peace will prevail within and outside of it. Otherwise India will become IS land like AfPak or at best utterly depressed South & Central America. Vande Mataram is merely saying that the native soil, water air which nourishes you is divine and so respect it.Recommend

  • abdul khan

    Excellent Blog. I think very useful for all people. keep up the great posts! Recommend

  • 19640909rk .

    “Ghar Wapsi”? You must be joking. Muslims are in no danger of being converted in India. Grow up.Recommend

  • Patwari

    Your opinion is very valued. And appreciated. and you did a great job.
    Very true. A great comment. Kudos to you. As a famous saying goes :-
    “May your tribe increase” [ ET moderators this is a compliment !!]
    The treatment of minorities in Land of the Pure is despicable and about
    par with what Hindustan does with it’s minorities, since Modi took over.
    However, just an aside :– the treatment of Muslims in Bharati Occupied Kashmir is horrendous.Recommend

  • Patwari

    Well,…what is your real hindu name?Recommend

  • Ali Javaid

    In Pakistan, majority of these things are driven by ignorance rather than a plan to convert every one. People need to understand that post partition there are hardly any hindus, sikhs left in Pakistani punjab whereas you will find christians, which is the same case for muslims in Indian punjab. But since India has muslims in other parts of the country, there understanding of communal experience is much better than a Pakistan.

    This is rather unfortunate that we sometimes don’t understand the little basics such as a personal example given by writer. A hindu living in Pakistani punjab will get a islamic greeting from everyone he will meet, get to read Islamic studies subject in his/her school and many other minor things but it’s only because people lack the understanding.

    In India’s case, lets not forget that there has been mass conversions by lower casts hindus into Islam as they get constantly discriminated due to their lower class.


  • Jawad Ishfaq

    I live in UAE. Please show where is forced conversion. What about Malaysia? I have lived in Lahore with many Christians and I have never seen anyone converting. it is only media hype for rare incidents. Most of the minorities like other Muslim Pakistanis migrated to foreign countries. See how in Syria different countries creating a mess. The game is not as simple as ABC as people think and start blaming one country and religion for it/Recommend

  • Sudhanshu Swami

    “….. children are being compelled to recite verses of Vande Matram, which is sung in praise of a Hindu goddess”
    Please name the Hindu Goddess
    “They are also compelled to read the Ramayan,”
    Who compels and how ?
    Please give percentage of minorities in both countries since 1947. Fact is in Pakistan minorities decreased drastically, and in India Muslims are increasing and Hindus are decreasing percentage wise.Recommend

  • Kulbhushan Yadav

    Forget his HIndu name, why are YOU not using your Islamic name??? Much embarrassed about it??? Patwari?? LOL. Thats not ISLAMIC name. Its sounds punjabi name.Recommend

  • Scrutator

    Hindu population declined from being 85% to only 80%, does that mean that Hindus in India were killed off by non-Hindus???Recommend

  • Scrutator

    Do you publish any comments at all?Recommend

  • pramod_mb

    Madam, You need to point out where the population of Muslims has fallen. It has not gone down in India (infact the rate has increased) and It has definitely not gone down in Pakistan. So what are you talking about?Recommend

  • pramod_mb

    You have a very different view on the conversion than what is talked about. You are looking only for civilised conversions. Try to open your eyes towards forced conversions. Do you know what happens when a minority (christian/hindu) girl in Pakistan gets kidnapped, raped and then married off to the rapist (who is usually a muslim)? You might think it cannot happen. But reality is otherwise. It happens quite frequently in Pakistan. You need to open your eyes a little more.Recommend

  • Patwari

    Use an alarm clock to wake
    you up in time for the toilet line. Recommend

  • Scrutator

    He’s basing his entire view of India through the story he heard from one relative of his!!!

    Indian national anthem (Jana gana mana) was written in praise of King George – and it was adopted to refer to the words to be praising the country and not King George!!!
    Vande Matram is the national ‘song’ from which specific references to Hindu goddess were deleted to make it sound solely in praise of the motherland and nothing else!!!

    Just because Muslim population increased at the rate of 25% instead of 45% does not mean that muslims were getting killed en masse. IT’S 1.2% – muslim population growth is 2000% more than the regular population growth.Recommend

  • Shakir Lakhani

    The Hindu goddess is either Laxmi or Durga, I’ll have to get the name from my Indian relatives. The Ramayan is compulsory reading in their schools. According to census reports from 1951 to 2011, number of Muslims in India should be at least 250-300 million (I’m researching on this). The percentage of Hindus (and other minorities) in Pakistan (excluding Bangladesh) has remained practically constant.Recommend

  • Patwari

    Good grief !! A real RSS cyber warrior ! Straight from
    BJP School of Hate and Hindutva Ideology. May Rama
    protect the cows and shower them with love and identity

  • abhi

    If there are stories from Rmayan part of curriculum then so are the stories about Muhammad, Jesus, Buddha and Guru Nanak. As multicultured country there should be sharing and knowledge of other religions customs and traditions and nothing is wrong in that. Your claim about minority is baltanty wrong while percentage of Muslim population has increased in India, The percentage of hindus has gone down in Pakistan and Bangladesh.Recommend

  • Fahim

    I am a Muslim Al-Hamduillah. Allah never said to cry foul where no one want listen. 200 million people are no minority. They just need to realize their powerRecommend

  • rationalist

    Just some facts:
    – Pakistani minority population shrank from a figure of 27% in the 1950’s to the current figure of 4%
    – Indian Muslim population increased from ~10% after partition to the current figure of 16%.
    -There are hundreds of thousands of Pakistanis illegal immigrants in India.

    -No Indian Muslim is trying to enter Pakistan as illegal immigrants escaping “discrimination or conversion”.Recommend

  • Rahul

    The whole of subcontinent is a pathetic cesspool of liars and cheats who cannot think beyond caste and religious lines. Critical thinking and meritocracy, which build the foundation of any prosperous and progressive society, are concepts virtually unknown and unheard of. No wonder we lament why other nations progress while we continue to lag behind.Recommend

  • Sudhanshu Swami

    You still didnt reply which Goddess, which school forces Ramayan !Recommend

  • Sudhanshu Swami

    Also by your same logic and projection please tell How Hindu Population should be at present and how much actually it is !Recommend

  • Anwar Ali

    `Bande Mataram’ is a not Holy Book text. It is a Bengali-Sanskrit lyrical song written by Bankim Chandra Chattergee in his famous Novel ` Anadamath’ based on Hindu Nationalistic Movement. So, to say if someone reads it he or she is being converted will not be justifiable.Recommend