A man has been arrested for murdering an 18-year-old Hindu girl when she resisted a bid to abduct her in Pakistan’s southern Sindh province, according to a media report on Wednesday.
Pooja Kumari Oad was said to have been shot after she put up resistance to the attackers in Rohi, Sukkur in Sindh on Monday.
The Sukkur police arrested the suspect, identified as Wahid Bakhash Lashari, and registered an FIR against him under the relevant sections of Pakistan Penal Code, The News reported on Wednesday.
Lashari, along with his two accomplices, reportedly broke into the house of Sahib Oad with a gun on the day of the murder. Lashari allegedly shot Oad’s daughter, Pooja Kumari, dead when the family resisted as he tried to abduct her, the paper said.
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The alleged murderers escaped after the killing.
The incident sparked an uproar on social media with activists strongly condemning the brutal murder and demanding protection of religious minorities, mainly Hindus and Christians.
SSP Sukkur Sanghaar Malik ordered the arrest of the suspected killer and his aides. Lashari was arrested from the limits of Rohri, with what is suspected to be the murder weapon.
On Tuesday, a local court sent the suspect to 10-day police remand.
Pakistan Peoples’ Party (PPP) Senator Krishna Kumari on Tuesday demanded capital punishment for the killer, saying that the authorities should take notice of the situation as girls of minorities were not safe in their homes.
PPP Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, whose party rules the province, condemned the incident and said the relevant authorities should make sure that the culprits were meted out stringent punishments.
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz president Shehbaz Sharif called the murder ”heinous and condemnable” and said that such incidents represent our collective failure and put our whole society to shame.
”No girl deserves to go through this. High time we thought why we continue to hit lows one after the other,” the leader of the opposition tweeted.
Pakistan’s minority communities have long faced the issue of forced marriages and conversions, the report said.
According to the Peoples Commission for Minorities’ Rights and the Centre for Social Justice, 156 incidents of forced conversions took place between 2013 and 2019, it said.
In 2019, the Sindh government attempted to outlaw forced conversions and marriages for the second time, but certain religious protestors contested the bill, the report said.
The Pakistan Bureau of Statistics reports the overall population of the Hindu community in Pakistan at 1.60 per cent, and 6.51 per cent in Sindh respectively, it said.
Hindus form the biggest minority community in Pakistan. According to official estimates, 75 lakh Hindus live in Pakistan. However, according to the community, over 90 lakh Hindus are living in the country.
The majority of Pakistan’s Hindu population is settled in Sindh province where they share culture, traditions and language with Muslim residents. They often complain of harassment by extremists.