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Thursday October 28, 2021

HRCP shows anger at anti-forced conversion bill’s rejection

October 15, 2021
HRCP shows anger at anti-forced conversion bill’s rejection

Showing their anger over a parliamentary panel’s decision to reject an anti-forced conversion bill, minority leaders on Thursday slammed the government for its “indifference” towards religious minorities living in the country.

A parliamentary committee on Wednesday rejected the bill after the ministry of religious affairs opposed the proposed law, while lawmakers from minority communities protested the decision.

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan said that it stands in solidarity with lawmakers from religious minorities who have rightly called for a bill against forced conversions.

“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,” the HRCP said. Dr Birma Jesrani, a prominent human rights activist, said the government's decision of rejecting 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,” said Jesrani, who organised several protests against incidents of forced conversions in Karachi in the past.

Raj Kumar Wanjara, the Secular Sindh Forum’s chairman, has condemned the blocking of the bill and said that religion had nothing to do with the business of the state.

“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.”