In Pakistan, the conversion of Hindu girl Rinkle Kumari (Faryal) to Islam last year has cost the Pir of Bharchoondi Sharif in Sindh the party ticket for the National Assembly for the May 11 general elections.
The Pakistan Peoples Party Parliamentarians (PPPP), which is an electoral extension of the Pakistan People’s Party, has said no to him for his conversion activities, according to The Express Tribune.
The Pir, who is known as Mian Mitho and is in charge of Dargah Bharchoondi Sharif, is known to welcome Hindu boys and girls who wish to embrace Islam. He also reportedly provides them protection from their families and others in case they feel unsafe, the report says.
His name came in the limelight after a Hindu girl, Rinkle Kumari (Faryal), converted to Islam in February 2012.
A resident of Mirpur Mathelo in Sindh, Rinkle eloped with a Muslim boy, Naveed Shah, after embracing Islam at the Dargah Bharchoondi Sharif.
Her conversion led to an uproar in Pakistan’s Hindu community who claimed that she was forced to convert and that Mian Mihto was providing shelter to her alleged kidnappers.
After the Supreme Court of Pakistan took suo motu notice of the incident, Rinkle told the court that she had chosen Islam and married her husband of her own free will. The court allowed her to live with her husband. The allegations of kidnapping and forced conversion, however, did not go away as the Hindu community maintained that she was being threatened by Mian Mitho to say that she converted of her own free will.
According to Mian Mitho, the party punished him for serving Islam. “For decades, non-Muslims have been coming to this Dargah to embrace Islam. How can we stop them or turn them away?” he told The Express Tribune.
He said, “The first thing we do is contact the family of the person who wants to embrace Islam and only after that we allow them to become Muslim. There are no forced conversions, as being claimed by some people. Instead they are given ample time to reconsider their decision.”
Even Rinkle Kumari was made to talk to her family before embracing Islam, he said.
He accused former Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah of asking him to choose between politics and “Mullaism” during a meeting. “I told him I am a Muslim first, then a Pakistani and then a politician. I cannot quit serving Islam.”
Mian Mitho has now filed nomination papers from NA-200 as an independent.
He was confident of victory, saying that all parties were supporting him. “There are around 2,000 Hindu voters in my constituency, out of which 50 per cent might not vote for me – it makes no difference.”