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Human Rights Minister backs formulation of new Christian divorce bill

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Pakistan’s Minister for Human Rights Dr. Shireen Mazari has ensured that a new Christian Divorce bill will be formulated. At the same time, she reiterated that Hindu marriage and divorce laws will be implemented in the country. She expressed commitment towards religious minorities in Pakistan.

Christian divorce Bill in Pakistan

For this purpose, a delegation consisting of representatives from Christian and Hindu communities called on the Federal Minister. The delegation aimed to discuss the legislation concerning protection of religious minorities. On this occasion, the delegates presented their ideas with Dr. Mazari.

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During the meeting, Rights Minister told the delegation that government had opted to take tangible steps in order to boost protection measures of the minorities. She said that by means of a comprehensive strategy; protection and dispensation of constitutional rights of minorities will be made sure. Dr. Mazari said that she was surprised after learning that Hindu marriage and divorce law had not been implemented.

“The government is committed to protect the due rights of minorities to ensure their freedom and security,” Federal Minister told her guests while adding that the government prioritizes improving the socio-economic status of minorities by making sure that their constitutional rights were being dispensed.

She briefed the delegation about government’s policies aimed to protect human rights of its citizens. The delegates were told that government has been taking efficacious steps so that minorities can enjoy a better status. Religious minorities are enjoying religious freedom and security, she said. At the same time, she stated that minorities were enjoying equal status in Pakistan.

Members of the delegation, applauded government’s efforts lauding the performance of the Ministry of Human Rights for protecting and promoting minorities’ rights. Members from Christian and Hindu communities assured their support for betterment of the country.

In October 2017, a delegation of Christians including priest, lawyers, academics and civil society members asked for a change in the Christian Divorce Act 1869 and the Christian Marriage Act 1870. They demanded that these laws had become outdated and needed to be amended.

Then Human Rights Minister Mumtaz Ahmed Tarar decided to forward a Christian Marriage and Divorce Bill 2017 to the law ministry. The Christians recommended that the bill’s provisions must be in accordance with the Biblical teachings. The members of the delegation told the then Rights’ minister that draft of the Christian marriage and divorce bill was finalized after reaching consensus with churches from all mainstream denominations and Christians community.