23 August, 2014 / Shawwal 26, 1435

ISLAMABAD, Sept 24: The National Assembly’s Standing Committee on National Harmony condemned forced religions conversion and called for effective legislation in the light of Supreme Court’s verdict.

The committee also condemned the burning of a church in Mardan and asked the ministry of national harmony to take up the matter at an appropriate forum.

The meeting presided over by Dr Mahesh Kumar Malani was attended by Dr Khatu Mal Jeewan, Ramesh Lal, Lal Chand, Surraiya Jatoi, Araish Kumar, Pir Mohammad Aslam, Ghulam Haider, Manwer Lal, Jamila Gillani and Reena Kumari.

The committee directed the ministry to come up with proposals for proper legislation to safeguard the interests of minorities who had been leaving the country because of the forced conversions.

It asked the ministry to carry out a proper investigation into the burning of the church in Mardan so that the culprits could be punished accordingly.

Talking to Dawn, Ramesh Lal alleged that in Sindh girls aged between 14 and 16 were being kidnapped and converted to Islam at gunpoint.

“I cannot understand why men and women aged between 30 and 40 do not convert to Islam although the people of this age group should be wiser. In the case of Rinkal Kumari, who was brought to the Supreme Court, we were assured by the Chief Justice that we will get justice, but in the end the girl was handed over to her so-called husband,” he said.

“There is a lot of corruption in lower courts and people cannot get justice. If someone allows me to convert the religion of any person at gunpoint, I will do it within one day and that person will surly record his statement in court.”

About the burning of Mardan church, Ramesh Lal said it was a conspiracy against minorities and an attempt to defame Islam.

“Muslims who follow the preaching of Holy Prophet (PBUH) cannot burn a church or a religious place. All religions preach love and harmony. Those who burned public property and killed Muslims during protests should be called terrorists,” he said.

The committee unanimously adopted a resolution condemning the anti-Islam film produced in the United States.

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