Civil society members demand implementation of forced conversion bill

Govt should take action against people who challenge its authority, they say

Our Correspondent December 01, 2016
Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazlur Rehman (JUI-F) MNA Aasiya Nasir said discrimination was embedded in the constitution and minorities face forced conversions, forced marriages and blasphemy related matters among other issues. PHOTO: ATHAR KHAN/EXPRESS/FILE

KARACHI: Following the religious parties’ campaign against the forced conversion bill, civil society activists demanded that the government implement the law.

Addressing a press conference at Karachi Press Club on Thursday, the representatives of various non- governmental organisations, including Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research (Piler), Rights of Expression, Assembly, Association and Thought (Reats) and Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), asked the provincial government to take action against the people who have challenged the writ of the government.

“The lawmakers of all parties in the assembly have passed this law unanimously but some extremist groups have started a smear campaign against it,” said Kirshan Sharma of REAT, adding that the law is not against the spirit of Islam. “No religion gives permission to forcibly convert any person.” He appealed to other provincial governments to pass a similar law in their respective assemblies.

Karamat Ali of Piler talked about the minor girls who were forcibly converted to Islam in the province. “These girls cannot get their identity cards [or] driving licences and are not even eligible to open bank accounts. How is then the conversion of an underage girl legal?” he remarked.

Asad Iqbal Butt of HRCP appreciated the Sindh Assembly members on the important legislation in the spirit of Quaid-i-Azam’s vision of Pakistan.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 2nd, 2016.


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