Setback for minorities, Sindh Governor returns Bill against forced conversion

Pakistani Hindus, Pakistan Hindu Council, Sindh Governor, Forced Conversion, Minorities Bill

As was expected, the Sindh Governor buckled under pressure from radicals who have vowed to create mayhem if the Criminal Law Bill becomes law.

The Sindh Governor Justice (retd) Saeeduzzaman Siddiqui, sent back the Criminal Law (Protection of Minorities) Bill without ratifying it and wrote to the Sindh Assembly secretariat to “reconsider the legislation.”

Siddiqui who enjoys good relations with Islamic leaders in Pakistan also asked for taking into account the doubts by Islamic parties, Council of Islamic Ideology (CII), and MQM parliamentary leader Sardar Ahmed among others.

The withdrawal comes close after the Pakistan Hindu Council had said that the withdrawal of the bill will lead to the isolation of Pakistan at the international level.

Forced conversion of minorities goes on unchallenged in Pakistan

In Pakistan hundreds of underage Hindu and Christian girls and boys are converted and taken away from the parents although pedophilia remains a crime. Girls as young as 5 years have been subjected to forced conversion and the judiciary, media and the political parties have chosen to look the other way. Due to forced conversion of minor children of the minority communities, Hindus, Christians, and others have migrated to India.

This Bill gave hope to the victims of forced conversion which is practiced openly in Pakistan and it stated that “any person who forcibly converts another person shall be liable to imprisonment for a minimum of five years and a maximum of life imprisonment and a fine to be paid to the victim.”

It also has a provision that says that a change of religion, if the child is under 18, shall not be recognized and calls for penalties if forced conversion is detected at any stage.

The Islamic groups threatened the Bill calling it against the Islamic principles and threatened violence and issued death threats.

Just a few days back Pakistani Hindus and liberals marched to request the government to not buckle down under the threats but it seems they have a long fight ahead.

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