Forced conversion cases have been reported for years, in Pakistan. Sindh province is reported to have registered more cases of forced conversion, since 2012.
Sindh government was to enact a law on forced conversion.
In 2013, Sindh government made a committee late Justice (r) Rana Bhagwandas, Justice (r) Majida Rizvi and Special Assistant Dr. Khatumal Jeewan about forced conversion bill, later, Nand Kumar Golkani, PML-F and member of Sindh Assembly presented a bill on forced conversion in 2016 which was passed by Sindh Assembly.
Bill was to have signed by of Sindh governor Chief Justice (rtd.) Saeeduzzaman Siddiqui, PMLN.
It was reported that ruling party PPP in Sindh was warned by Jama’at-i-Islami Chief Sirajul Haq who opposed a bill, though, Jama’at-i-Islami had no vote in Sindh Assembly, 2016.
But, in October, 2019 Sindh Assembly turned down a bill by Nand Kumar Golkani.
“I made amendment in forced conversion bill, but bill was not supported by ruling party PPP, nor encouraged by other parties,” says Nand Kumar Golkani who tabled forced conversion bill twice. He further said that what he should say when none of political parties supported his effort.
Hari Raam, minister of minorities Affairs in Sindh Assembly told that his party was making a difference. Few days ago, Sindh government approved Hindu Marriage Rules. Now, they would look into forced conversion bill. We want to enact a law on forced conversion, therefore, we need to discuss all political parties, he said.
To a question on Nand Kumar’s Bill, he responded; last time, governor did not sign a bill. So, they did not support because of its cancellation. “Sindh government is working on a bill and they will table it, soon.”
Kheal Das Kohistani, member of National Assembly and PMLN completely rejected a view of his party governor did not sign a bill in 2016. He said, it was then Sindh government that wrote a letter and asked to send it back in order to amend it.
“I wonder, Bilawal Bhutto who is secular, so how come Sindh government has not supported forced conversion bill,” says Kheal Das Kohistani. In federal, a committee of 22 members initiated work on forced conversion bill, he said.
Abdul Hayee member of Human Rights Commission of Pakistan asked, government should table a bill to know whereabouts of girls who have been converted to Islam. “Parents have no idea of where girls are?” No one knows after conversion where girl have been gone missing. “It is necessary to detect girls – even – parents should meet their daughters which is humanitarian right,” says Abdul Hayee.
Ravi Dawani, Secretary General at All Pakistan Hindu Panchayat suggested that if Sindh government could not enact law on forced conversion, they should ensure some points to protect girls that are: girl to be presented in court in 24 hours, she should be allowed to meet her parents. After 6 months, girls’ decision should be asked. He showed his reservation over shelter houses, shelter houses were blamed not to have provided free environment. In case of Anjali Kumari, boy was allowed to meet her, but parents were not allowed, he said. Whereas, Abdul Hayee, HRCP denied the allegations – shelter houses had provided free environment to girls.
Ravi Dawani further said that Sindh government should develop a system that keeps a record of girls who have been converted, and how girls live. In Sindh, especially two Dargahs are involved converting girls to Islam. It is a responsibility of Sindh government to see those Dargahs. If minor girl is being converted, child marriage act should be implemented. Why child marriage act was not implemented to girl who had been converted to Islam, he asked.
“History won’t forget those who did not supported a bill on forced conversion. I had tried to table a bill, but I was discouraged,” says Nand Kumar Golkani.
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