Islam in Pakistan
Pakistan has the second-largest Muslim population in the world. Islam is the largest and the state religion of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. Pakistan has been called a “global center for political Islam”. Pakistani nationalism is religious in nature being Islamic nationalism. Religion was the basis of Pakistani nationalist narrative.
Islam in Pakistan existed in communities along the Arab coastal trade routes in Sindh as soon as the religion originated and had gained early acceptance in the Arabian Peninsula. The connection between the Sind and Islam was established by the initial Muslim missions during the Rashidun Caliphate. Al-Hakim ibn Jabalah al-Abdi, who attacked Makran in the year 649 AD, was an Army officer of Caliph Ali. During the Caliphate of Ali, many Hindus of Sindh had came under influence of Islam and some even participated in the Battle of Camel and died fighting for Ali. Under the Umayyads (661 – 750 AD), many Shias sought asylum in the region of Sindh, to live in relative peace in the remote area.
There have been conversions to Islam from the religious minorities of Pakistan. Baba Deen Mohammad Shaikh, a former Hindu, is a Muslim missionary from Matli in Badin District of Sindh province claim that he has converted over 110,000 Hindus to Islam.
The Human Rights Council of Pakistan has reported that cases of forced conversion to Islam are increasing. A 2014 report by the Movement for Solidarity and Peace (MSP) says about 1,000 women in Pakistan are forcibly converted to Islam every year (700 Christian and 300 Hindu). Many Hindu girls living in Pakistan are kidnapped, forcibly converted and married to Muslims.Within Pakistan, the province of the southern Sindh had over 1,000 forced conversions of Christian and Hindu girls according to the annual report of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan in 2018. According to victims’ families and activists, Mian Abdul Haq, who is a local political and religious leader in Sindh, has been accused of being responsible for forced conversions of girls within the province. Sikhs in Hangu district stated they were being pressured to convert to Islam by Yaqoob Khan, the assistant commissioner of Tall Tehsil, in December 2017.
There are Christian missionaries active in Pakistan trying to convert Muslims. The Daily Pakistan in 2017 reported that the South Korean missionaries are involved in evangelising in Muslim countries like Pakistan. In 2014, four Christian missionaries were arrested for distributing Christian pamphlets in the Mirpurkhas in Sindh. In 2017, a Christian missionary couple sent by the British Pakistani Christian Association on a missionary trip to Pakistan was forced to leave Pakistan. In 2017, two Christian missionaries preaching in Pakistan were killed by militants. A 2015 study, estimated 5,500 Muslims converted to Christianity in Pakistan.