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HRCP condemns govt for "U-turn" after anti-forced conversion bill rejected

15 اکتوبر 2021
Pakistanis protest forced conversions earlier this year. File photo
Pakistanis protest forced conversions earlier this year. File photo

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan in a press statement on Friday expressed its solidarity with lawmakers from religious minorities who slammed a parliamentary committee on Wednesday for rejecting a bill against forced conversions.

The parliamentary committee on Wednesday rejected the bill saying it did so to protect peace in the country while some of the members on the panel said the problem of forced conversions did not exist in Pakistan.

Members from minority communities slammed the government for its indifference towards them.

In its release, the HRCP said: “We condemn the government's U-turn on what is a grave human rights concern in Pakistan. Not only must the government legislate against forced conversions, but it must also build a far more effective legal framework protecting the constitutional right of religious minorities to practice and profess their own faiths by implementing the 2014 Tasadduq Jillani judgment."

Rights activist Dr Birma Jesrani said the rejection of the bill would make life a living hell for minorities in the country.

“For years, girls from minority communities are being kidnapped and forcibly converted and no one from the government stands with the religious minorities,” she said.

Hers was not a lone voice.

“Minorities in Pakistan demand nothing less than the implementation of the promises made by Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, but unfortunately, the government through their such acts [rejecting the anti-forced conversion bill] are working against the promises of Jinnah,” said Raj Kumar Wanjara, the Secular Sindh Forum chairman.

While slamming the government's decision on Thursday, PTI MNA Lal Chand Malhi blamed Mian Mithu for the bill's rejection. Mithu, a pir of Bharchundi Sharif, is accused of forced conversions of Hindu girls in rural Sindh.

The PTI rejects this accusation.

Many Muslim clerics opposed this bill and called it a conspiracy against Islam.