Speaking in the House of Commons this week Fiona highlighted the plight of some hundreds of Pakistani girls each year who are abducted, forcibly converted and forcibly married. Fiona's speech is below,
"Finally, I wish to raise an issue that comes from a considerable distance away, from Pakistan. On 21 March, an 18-year-old Hindu girl, Pooja Kumari, was shot dead in Sindh province. According to media reports, the alleged killer wanted to convert Pooja to Islam and marry her. When she refused, the alleged killer attempted to abduct her and, following a struggle, shot her. Local police arrested the alleged killer on 22 March. I would like to express my condolences to Pooja’s family.
Tragically, the abduction of young girls in Pakistan for forced marriage and forced conversion is far too common, and it is affecting not only Hindus such as Pooja, but Christians and Sikhs. Some estimates put the number affected at as many as 1,000 girls a year. This is simply unacceptable. We must call this out more strongly, and challenge it to see change.
I hope that is one outcome that will come out of the conference to he held here in London in July on freedom of religion or belief for everyone, everywhere, when we will gather together faith leaders and representatives, civil society activists and Government Ministers from countries around the world, not only to discuss freedom of religion or belief concerns, but, I hope, to develop practical solutions to address these concerns.
Alongside the conference, we are planning a FORB fringe—largely organised through the all-party parliamentary group on international freedom of religion or belief—at which around 100 side events will take place to highlight FORB concerns. Having worked internationally as the Prime Minister’s special envoy for freedom of religion or belief for more than a year, I am proud that the all-party parliamentary group now has 157 members. It is a cross-party group the likes of which does not exist anywhere else in the world. It is a tribute to parliamentarians here and the way they have raised freedom of religion or belief and put it on the international agenda."