Lahore: Eighteen members of a Hindu family in Khanpur area of Pakistan’s central Punjab province have converted to Islam, local residents said on Wednesday.
Seven men and eleven women of the family adopted Islam during a ceremony conducted on Tuesday evening by Mian Ghaus Mohammad, custodian of the Khwaja Ghulam Fareed shrine at Jhok Farid.
They recited the Kalima Tayabba, the Islamic confession of faith, and converted to Islam, local residents were quoted as saying by state-run APP news agency.
Samaram, the head of the family, chose Mohammad Sharif as his new name. Prominent people of the area were present on the occasion.
In certain areas of Pakistan today, minorities live in abject fear of the Islamists who threaten them because of their religious beliefs. Many have converted in order to protect their women and sometimes, property.
There have been several reports of forcible conversion of members of the minority Hindu community too in the southern Sindh province. Community leaders have also alleged that several women were abducted and forced into marriage with Muslim youths.
Members of the Hindu community, especially traders and professionals like doctors, have been the target of kidnapping for ransom and extortion demands in the restive southwestern Balochistan province.