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Pakistan MP moves Bills on forced conversion

Posted in S. Asia

Published on March 31, 2019 with No Comments

A Hindu lawmaker from Prime Minister Imran Khan’s party has moved two Bills in Parliament seeking enhancement of punishment for those involved in forced conversion and for making child marriage a cognizable offence, amid the nationwide outrage over the alleged forced conversion of two teenage girls from the minority community.

Ramesh Kumar Vankwani from the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) submitted Child Marriage Restraint Act (Amendment) Bill 2019 and the Criminal Law (Protection of Minorities) Act 2019 in the National Assembly. The Bills, moved in the wake of alleged kidnapping of two Hindu girls and their forced conversion to Islam, were accompanied by a resolution with the support of minority lawmakers from all major political parties.

Besides  Vankwani, PTI legislators Lal Malhi and Shunila Ruth, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz lawmaker Darshan and Pakistan Peoples Party’s Ramesh Lal signed the resolution.

The five-point resolution called for immediate passage of the Bill against forced conversions, which had been unanimously passed by the Sindh Assembly in 2016 and then reverted due to pressure of extremist elements, from all the legislatures.

Through the resolution, the lawmakers demanded strict action against the culprits, including religious figures who are involved in forced conversions.

Vankwani, who is also patron-in-chief of Pakistan Hindu Council (PHC), later told the media that unfortunately the practice of child marriage was common in all parts of Pakistan, particularly in poverty-hit areas.

 

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