PESHAWAR: Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Minister for Law and Parliamentary affairs Imtiaz Shahid Qureshi said on Friday that the Minorities Properties Protection Bill (MPPB) would be passed soon by the K-P Assembly to allay rising insecurities among minority communities in the province.
Speaking at a dialogue titled “Religious freedom and minority Rights” arranged by South Asian Partnership Pakistan (SAP-PK), the minister said the proposed bill has been referred to a select committee for review and further improvements, better addressing the concerns of the stakeholders. He assured that the provincial government would not compromise on the rights of non-Muslim communities in the province.
Key representatives of minority communities, Chairman of All
The Law minister said the province is facing security issues and acknowledged that minorities are still facing problems. He said right to expression, assembly, association and thoughts (REAT) was the right of every citizen. He said he supports the formation of a commission to voice the concerns of minorities’ rights, protection and security for their religious places and aid coordination with relevant departments and stakeholders for an amicable resolution of their problems.
Pakistan Hindus’ Right Movement (APHRM) Harun Sarab Diyal, Pastor Shahzad Murad from Diocese of Church of Pakistan Peshawar and Sikh community representative Baba Gorpal Singh also spoke at the event.
Diyal stressed the need for an effective role of the Islamic Ideology Council of Pakistan (IICP) in countering anti-Hindu sentiments and demanded strict implementation of blasphemy laws in the country. He expressed concerns over non-utilisation of provincial development funds for welfare and provision of facilities to non-Muslim communities in K-P. Stern action should be taken against those creating religious dis-harmony and hatred between communities, he said.
Pastor Shahzad Murad called for ensuring equal opportunities and rights to non-Muslim communities across the country. He strongly opposed the selection of people representing non-Muslim communities in provincial legislative assemblies and Parliament.
Singh raised concerns over security threats and the surge in target killings of people belonging to Sikh community in the province. He also complained about the discriminative treatment of the Sikh community and other non-Muslim communities at NADRA.
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