Geneva: Sindhi Foundation protests at UN demanding release of missing Hindu girl

Ronit Kawale
Ronit Kawale - Senior Editor
5 Min Read

Sindhi Foundation on Monday organised a demonstration at the Broken Chair in front of the United Nations in Geneva demanding the release of Priya Kumari, a minor girl who has been missing from Pakistan's Sindh province for the last three years.

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The protest took place during the 56th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council. Munawar “Sufi” Laghari, executive director of the Sindhi Foundation, stressed the seriousness of Priya Kumari's case.

He said, “I have come to Switzerland from Washington DC, especially for Priya Kumari. She was forcibly disappeared in Pakistan's Sindh province three years ago. She was only seven years old. We still don't know where she is, but there is speculation that Sindh's feudal chieftain Sardar Shah and his supporters, including the Pakistani army, are responsible for this. Why are they making our daughters disappear? They are trying to forcibly kidnap Sindhi Hindus and take them out of Sindh for ransom.”

Expressing hope and determination, Laghari said, “Through our struggle and this momentum, Priya Kumari will one day be free. This is not our first demonstration in front of the UN; we have protested in Toronto, the UK, and our next focus will be on the United States. I am confident that we will mobilise support for Priya Kumari from various places. I call on the international community, especially the UN, to conduct an independent investigation into her disappearance. This is not the first girl who has been forcibly disappeared; there are many others.”

Maqbool Channa, a Sindhi political activist from Manchester, UK, also joined the protest. He criticised the Pakistani army and its intelligence agency ISI.

He said, “The Pakistani Army claims that the ISI is the most powerful intelligence agency in the world. Priya Kumari has been missing for three years. Everyone knows that the Shah family has kidnapped her, but they do not want to release her. Agencies, police, army – we are asking Army Chief General Asim Munir: If you claim to be the most powerful person, then where is Priya Kumari? She has been missing for three years. Is it because she is a Hindu and belongs to a poor family?”

Channa accused Nasir Shah, a Sindh politician, of being behind the kidnapping. He said, “The kidnappers are very powerful. Nasir Shah is a minister in the Sindh government. I am asking Bilawal Bhutto to take action. He is the kidnapper. We want Priya Kumari's release.”

Later, the Sindhi Foundation submitted a letter to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Turk, appealing for assistance from the UN for the safe release of Priya Kumari. It said that Priya Kumari was abducted by an influential local man when she was serving water to the mourners of the martyrs of Karbala in front of her house in 2021.

In the letter, Sindhi Foundation said, “On 19th August 2021, which was also the 9th of Muharram 1443 AH, this innocent child was giving water to the mourners of the martyrs of Karbala in front of her house out of humanity, as she did not belong to the religion of the mourners. In her innocence, she wanted to do a noble deed by quenching the thirst of the mourners on a hot and humid day. While she was doing this noble and humanitarian act, she was kidnapped by a local influential person who has very strong connections with the army and the party supported by them, which has been ruling Sindh continuously since 2008 and has been in power before as well.”

It added, “The political police of Sindh is unable to take action against the culprits because the influence of the kidnappers prevents them from performing their duty as they fear retribution not from the law of the country but from the political masters to whom they are loyal.”

Sindhi Foundation also requested Volker Turk to set up an international independent investigation to rescue innocent Priya Kumari from the clutches of the kidnappers.

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