KARACHI, Aug 14: Rejecting media reports about migration of Hindu families from the province to India as mere propaganda, Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah has said the minority community enjoys all facilities here and its members have been visiting India to meet their relatives or on pilgrimage.
With three elected ministers belonging to the Hindu community in the provincial cabinet, legislation has been done for their welfare and betterment, Mr Shah added, while speaking at the mausoleum of Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah after paying homage to him on the the 65th Independence Day of Pakistan on Tuesday.
“We have done legislation for their betterment and many more laws are being framed,” he said.
The chief minister said the two committees formed by the Sindh government and another body constituted by President Asif Ali Zardari were investigating the issue and they all were in touch with the Hindu families living in different cities and towns.
When asked about the issue of forced conversion, Mr Shah said there were reports about three or four incidents of conversion.
People belonging to the community used to embrace Islam in the past, too, of their own free will, he said, adding that these girls had done it on their own.
The law of the land allowed them to marry anyone of their own free will, he said.
Such matters were also taken up in the Supreme Court, where the girls clearly stated that they had embraced Islam and married of their own will. In such cases, the court also gave verdicts in their favour, he added.
In reply to a question, he said that the Pakistan People’s Party and its coalition partners would strengthen democracy in the country so that no dictator could cause harm to it by adventurism in future. Forming coalition governments in the centre and provinces had been envisioned by Benazir Bhutto, who, he said had talked to all political parties with emphasis on importance of the democratic and constitutional government.
With the cooperation of the leadership of political parties, Altaf Hussain, Asfandyar Wali Khan, Pir Sahib Pagara, Chaudhry Shujat Hussain and others, President Asif Zardari struggled to steer the country out of crises, he added.
He said that the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) had also joined hands but parted ways later.
The chief minister said that certain insane elements were trying to create unrest at the federal level but they would miserably fail. “The present coalition government will continue to work and complete its constitutional tenure of five years,” he added.
Responding to another question, he said that people from across the country continued to come to Karachi in search of employment. Had there been no job opportunities here or a complete breakdown of law and order, they wouldn’t have come to the country’s biggest city, he explained.He said people belonging to different schools of thought were settled here and certain incidents of religious and ethnic nature did take place which required some time to die away.
In reply to yet another question, he thanked PML-Functional chief Pir Pagara for his cooperation and said that the PML-F and other coalition partners were resolving issues with consensus in the Sindh Assembly.
About the Pakistan People’s Party-Muttahida Qaumi Movement core committee, the chief minister said that legislation was a very important job that was done very carefully. A discussion was under way between them on the local government system, he said, adding that the core committee was busy in reaching consensus.
“All eyes are fixed at core committee’s decision. We are resolving the differences with the spirit of reconciliation and soon the people will hear good news,” the chief minister added.
Earlier, he attended a flag-hoisting ceremony along with Governor Dr Ishratul Ibad, cabinet members, civil and military officials at the mausoleum of Quaid-i-Azam. — Agencies