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Pak's Burney fires brother over conversion story on TV

Jul 28, 2012 11:30 IST

#Ansar Burney   #NewsTracker  

Islamabad: Leading Pakistani rights activist Ansar Burney on Saturday  said he has dismissed his brother from his NGO for participating in a live TV show that featured a Hindu boy converting to Islam.

"This conversion was a drama created by (TV show host) Maya Khan and my brother Sarim Burney. I have dismissed my brother from the Ansar Burney Trust," Burney said on phone from London.

Ansar Burney. Reuters

Burney said he was trying to ascertain if the Hindu boy, identified only as Sunil, was forced to convert on the live TV show aired on Tuesday on the ARY Digital channel.

"I have been told that the boy was offered inducements, and that he was very keen on appearing on TV though he might not have known what was going on," he said.

The rights activist said Sunil had worked for his organisation for several years.

Sarim Burney had featured prominently in the show on ARY Digital. He was seen sitting next to Sunil while a cleric converted the Hindu boy to Islam.

Burney further said he is looking into some "corruption charges" that had been levelled against his brother Sarim.

The conversion of Sunil on the TV show, specially produced to mark the Islamic holy month of Ramzan, triggered concerns among minority communities.

The host of the show, Maya Khan, was sacked by Samaa TV channel earlier this year after she earned the ire of people across Pakistan by accosting couples dating in a park in Karachi.

Burney said if Sunil had chosen to convert to Islam of his own free will, it should have been kept a private matter.

"The boy could have converted in front of a few witnesses. There was no need to televise the whole thing," he said.

PTI