The recently surfaced video of two underage Hindu girls married to two Muslim men is not the first incident of its kind. We have come across many such stories before where the men, girls elope with, claim that the girls had accepted Islam willingly and subsequently married Muslim men. The tale of Reena and Raveena, the latest addition to the list of Hindu girls’ conversion to Islam, makes a story that is playing on repeat in Umerkot – a district that is home to large communities of Hindus – as media reports suggest that around 25 forced marriages to take place every month in the region mentioned afore.

What does this mean to the religious minorities living in Pakistan in general and the Hindus in particular? The present scheme of things suggests that religious minorities are not safe in Pakistan, to put it bluntly. The issue of forceful conversions and underage marriages mean that the state is continuously failing its minorities.

The present case violates the law of the land on two accounts. Firstly, the sad state of affairs tells that while some people in the society flout article 20 of the Constitution of Pakistan that guarantees freedom of religion to every citizen, the government often the times stands as a silent spectator. Secondly, the act was also in violation of “The Sindh Child Marriages Restraint Act” – as the two girls are 14 and 16 years old according to the first information report (FIR) registered in the police station – calls everyone under 18 a child.

The Prime Minister (PM) Imran Khan has already ordered the provincial governments of Sindh and Punjab to take appropriate measures in this regard. However, this is not the correct approach to deal with the problem. Dealing with the case in isolation will not stop recurrence of such mishaps in future. The issue of forceful conversions and marriages is one of the many problems that religious minorities in Pakistan face.

The PM is already aware of the constant abuses of the rights of minorities. Being the Chief Executive of the country, he needs to devise a strategy that can ensure the protection of lives, properties and other fundamental rights of religious minorities. Doing so is also important if he is still keen on converting Pakistan into a truly Islamic welfare state. But if he and his party fail in providing a safe living space for religious minorities to live their lives peacefully in Pakistan, then his dream of the Islamic welfare state can turn into an ugly reality where everyone will be at war against everyone.