Houston resident’s Hindu niece in Pakistan allegedly kidnapped and forced into marriage

Arti Sharma

20-year-old Arti Kumari Sharma was allegedly kidnapped at gunpoint in Pakistan.

HOUSTON (Diya TV) — 20-year-old Hindu Arti Kumari Sharma was allegedly kidnapped at gunpoint near her Khairpur District home in Pakistan’s southern Sindh province. After the partition, between India and Pakistan, while most Hindus migrated to India, the small minority that remains is falling on hard times, according to the Hindu American Foundation.

Arti’s uncle, Houston resident and Pakistan native Kishwar Sharma, recently escaped religious persecution in Pakistan to immigrate to the U.S.

“I am deeply distraught to find out my niece was kidnapped at gunpoint near her house,” says Sharma. “Arti is engaged to be married in November and is the second girl to be kidnapped in my family.”

Arti, a teacher at Qasim Model School, was allegedly abducted on her way home by Muslim landlord, Ammer Wassan and taken to a local mosque where she was allegedly forcibly converted to Islam and married against her will. She was allegedly forced into signing an affidavit that she married and converted on her own free will.

Arti has not been allowed to return home. She was set to be brought before the Sindh High Court on Sept. 26, despite her family filing a First Information Report with local police.

The Hindu American Foundation is asking for the immediate release of Sharma.“Arti’s basic civil rights and freedom have been flagrantly violated, in contradiction of Pakistani law and international human rights law,” says Rishi Bhutada, HAF Board Member and Houston resident. “We urge the Sindh High Court to order the immediate release and safe return of Arti to her family.”

Human rights groups, including Global Human Rights Defense and the Movement for Solidarity and Peace estimate that more than 1,000 Hindu and Christian women and girls are kidnapped and forced to convert to Islam annually.

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