Pass minorities protection bill without changes, Sindh government urged

Islamabad, Dec 29 (IANS) Civil society activists have urged Pakistan’s Sindh government to pass the protection of minorities bill in its present form without making any changes under pressure from religious scholars.

A consortium of civil rights organisations including the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan on Wednesday expressed disappointment at the government’s decision to review the bill after some religious scholars expressed reservations over the law, terming it unconstitutional and against Islam, Dawn reported.

The bill proposed in 2015 as a private bill by Nand Kumar Goklani of the Pakistan Muslim League-Functional was unanimously passed by the Sindh assembly in November. It was aimed at making forced conversion a punishable act.

Recently, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Nisar Ahmed Khuhro issued a statement indicating the assembly would review any clause that went against the constitution and Sharia.

Asad Iqbal Butt, provincial vice chairperson of the HRCP, said that reservations of religious scholars were nothing but “arm-twisting tactics which they use whenever a progressive step is taken.”

He said the government should not bow to the “religious might and stand firm on its decision to pass the bill without a review. The bill is fine as it is.”

Pakistan Hindu Council’s Mangla Sharma said the issue of passage of the law needed to be looked at from a human rights perspective and not a religious one.

–IANS

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