22 November 2017
AsiaNews.it Twitter AsiaNews.it Facebook
Geographic areas




  • > Africa
  • > Central Asia
  • > Europe
  • > Middle East
  • > Nord America
  • > North Asia
  • > South Asia
  •    - Afghanistan
  •    - Bangladesh
  •    - Bhutan
  •    - India
  •    - Nepal
  •    - Pakistan
  •    - Sri Lanka
  • > South East Asia
  • > South West Asia
  • > Sud America
  • > East Asia


  • » 01/09/2017, 16.56

    PAKISTAN

    Sindh rejects law against forced conversions, a big disappointment for Christians and Hindus

    Kamran Chaudhry

    In November, the provincial assembly had adopted the law unanimously, outlawing forced conversion and marriage of minors. Every year about a thousand girls and young women are forced to repudiate their religion. Thirteen lawmakers who drafted the bill received death threats.

    Lahore (AsiaNews) - The Government of Sindh Province (southeastern Pakistan) has rejected a law that punishes forced conversions with jail time, including life imprisonment.

    Welcomed by Pakistan’s religious minorities as a real breakthrough to ensure full freedom of belief and bulwark against forced conversions, the bill was adopted unanimously by the provincial assembly last November.

    Speaking to AsiaNews, Christian and Hindu activists expressed "great regret" and bemoan the dangerous step backwards.

    "We can do nothing to prevent kidnappings and conversions of our underage daughters,” said Mukhee Lal Chand, president of the Hindu General Panchayat (Assembly) in Jacobabad District. “This is really an injustice. We really needed this law”.

    Forced conversion to Islam, especially of girls, is a real scourge among Pakistan’s eight million Hindus. According to a report by Asian Human Rights Commission, at least 1,000 Pakistani girls are forced into Muslim marriages and made to convert to Islam annually.

    Last week, Sindh Governor Saeeduzzaman Siddiqi rejected the Sindh Minorities Rights Commission Bill. Nand Kumar, a Muslim Member of the Sindh Assembly, had proposed the bill.

    Under the new piece of legislation, anyone convicted of forced conversion would have to serve five years or life in prison. Forced conversion is common in Islamic marriages with the non-Muslim bride compelled to embrace her husband’s religion.

    In the case of minors, the law would have required that no person should be deemed to have changed his or her religion until they attained the age of maturity, namely 18 years.

    After the law’s adoption, Islamist parties criticised it as "anti-Islamic" and demanded its immediate repeal.

    Senator Siraj ul Haq, a leader with the Jamaat-e-Islami, slammed the legislation as "an attempt to create unrest between Muslims and minorities."

    Thirteen lawmakers involved in drafting the bill, including three ministers, received death threats.

    For Peter Jacob, a Catholic who heads the Centre for Social Justice, the rejection of the law goes against freedom of religion.

    “We urge the Sindh Government to stay focused on social divisions,” he said. At the same time, “we ask for the support of the Pakistan Peoples Party in government. Those protesting have neither studied their religion, nor the Constitution of Pakistan."

    "Who has claimed the right to review the law does not own the whole of Sindh Province,” said Nasira Javed Iqbal, a former judge and Islamic human rights activist. “Everyone should take a stand on the minorities’ bill.”

    e-mail this to a friend Printable version










    See also

    22/07/2004 CHINA
    China tops world in censuring religious websites

    Access to AsiaNews also blocked



    24/06/2004 RUSSIA
    Freedom of expression on trial


    10/12/2004 PHILIPPINES – HUMAN RIGHTS
    Press freedom under siege, Filipino journalists says


    19/05/2010 PAKISTAN – ISLAM
    Facebook blocked by blasphemy regulations
    A judge blocks the social networking website until 31 May because some users organised a competition for Muhammad caricatures. Under Pakistani law, blasphemy can include the death penalty. Account creators say extremists cannot “take away our freedom of speech”.

    24/03/2016 09:17:00 CHINA
    Zhang Kai, lawyer who defends China’s crosses from demolition, is released

    After appearing on television to "confess his crimes" and spending six months under "house arrest", the lawyer was released. Together with activists for civil liberties, he defended the Christian churches against Zhejiang province authorities.





    Editor's choices

    HONG KONG - CHINA - VATICAN
    Mass for a deceased underground priest. Card. Zen asks for God ‘s grace to save the Church in China and the Holy See from the 'precipice'

    Li Yuan

    Fr. Wei Heping, 41, died in mysterious circumstances, his body dumped in a river in Taiyuan (Shanxi). For the police claim he committed suicide. Family members are not allowed to even see the autopsy report. For Card. Zen the Holy See (which "is not necessarily the Pope") seeks a compromise at all costs with the Chinese government, risking "to sell out the faithful Church". Justice and Peace publish a booklet about Fr. Wei, not to forget.


    VATICAN - ITALY
    Pope: No more war, its only fruit is death, 'our self-destruction'



    Marking the Feast of All Souls, Francis celebrated Mass at the American Cemetery in Nettuno. "When so many times in history men think of a war, they are convinced of bringing a new world, they are convinced of making a 'spring'. It ends in a winter, ugly, cruel, with the reign of terror and death."


    AsiaNews IS ALSO A MONTHLY!

    AsiaNews monthly magazine (in Italian) is free.
     

    SUBSCRIBE NOW

    News feed

    Canale RSScanale RSS 

    Add to Google









     

    IRAN 2016 Banner

    2003 © All rights reserved - AsiaNews C.F. e P.Iva: 00889190153 - GLACOM®