NA body rejects Protection of Minorities Bill
By: AAMIR SAEED
The National Assembly Standing Committee on Human Rights on Friday rejected ‘The Protection of Minorities Bill, 2016’ that was moved by MNA of MQM Sanjay Pervani. A meeting of the committee was held in the chair of MNA Babar Nawaz here at the Parliament House. The chairman of the committee said that forced conversion of religion and forced marriages are both illegal but these matters have been devolved to provinces after the 18th Amendment in Constitution.
The committee members however, decided to initiate suo moto proceedings if any case of forced conversion of religion or marriage is brought into their notice. Some members of the committee also opposed the imposition of an age limit for conversion of religion as MNA Asia Naz Tanoli said that even children know each and everything in this modern age and they can easily differentiate between good or bad.
About forced marriages of the non-Muslim girls with Muslims, Aliya Kamran Murtaza said that even 10-year-old girl in this modern age knows about her rights, besides knowing what is good or bad for her. She said the ban cannot be imposed on conversion of religion of anybody.
Sanjay Pervani’s bill says that forced conversion of religion before the age of 18 should be termed illegal. The Sindh Assembly has recently approved almost a similar law that prohibits conversion of religion before the age of 18. There should be a complete ban on forced marriages in the country, he said, adding that over 500 cases regarding the forced marriages have surfaced so far in different parts of the country but most of them go unregistered. Pervani also urged the committee members to look into the issue from the perspective of human rights instead of religion.