PCC condemns opposition to the anti-forced conversions bill

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Anti-forced conversions law passed by Sindh faces opposition from the religious parties. Pakistan Christian Congress has voiced serious concerns regarding the dislike expressed by the religious outfits in the country. Sindh lawmakers had recently passed a bill into law which carries punishment for perpetrators of forcing girls to other religion.

Anti-forced conversions bill in Sindh

In this regard, the Pakistan Christian Congress PCC Central Secretariat leaders have poured out condemnation upon the Muslim religious parties for opposing the anti-forced conversion bill passed by Sindh provincial assembly. In an official statement issued by the Pakistan Christian Congress Chief Dr. Nazir S. Bhatti disappointment was expressed over reactions displayed by mainstream religious-political parties including Jamat-e-Islami , Jamat-e-Ulema Islami (F) and other Muslim political parties.

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Data extracted from a research done by a local NGO Auraat Foundation every year about one thousand minorities’ girls are abducted and sexually assaulted , harassed and threatened to convert to Islam. The report further delineated that the unfortunate victims included seven hundred Christian women who are forced to embrace Islam every year, while three hundred Hindu girls face the brunt of the ferocity. In this regard Sindh province had become the hotbed of forced conversions of Hindu girls while Punjab had become the epicenter of forced conversions of Christian girls.

PCC’s reaction was a result of the news conference by the Jamaat-i-Islami Ameer Siraj-ul-Haq when he expressed his opinion about the new law adopted the Sindh Assembly. He said that the law against forced conversions is un-Islamic. JI leader had further demanded that the Sindh Assembly must immediately annul the law and announced that he is planning to meet Asif Ali Zardari in person in order to bring the topic under discussion.

Pakistan Christian Congress President Dr. Nazir Bhatti called upon Prime Minister Mian Nawaz Sharif to move a similar bill in the National Assembly so that the scourge of forced conversions may be done away with once for all. He demanded that the Prime Minister must take efficacious steps to address the growing insecurities of the non-Muslim Pakistanis.

Christians are now calling for similar anti-forced religious conversions law other provinces at the same time as they appreciate the efforts of the Sindh lawmakers to curb the dilemma of the minorities’ girls in the province.

The Sindh Criminal Law (Protection of Minorities) Bill of 2015 now inflicts punishments to the guilty person found responsible for forcibly converting another person belonging to a religious minority. The punishment includes a prison sentence of up to five years offender while the facilitator of the guilty one will face up to three years of imprisonment.

The anti-forced conversions law states: “Forced conversion is an abhorrent and violent offence and an issue that has become prevalent across Sindh [that] must be eliminated by recognizing the importance of tolerance, peace and respect for all religions and persons, irrespective of their religion.”