KARACHI: Leaders of religious and political parties have warned the Sindh government of agitation, if the Sindh Criminal Law (Protection of Minorities) Bill, 2015 is not repealed.

Describing it as an ‘anti-Islam bill’, the leaders at a multi-party conference held under the auspices of the Jamaat-i-Islami at Idara Noor-i-Haq on Friday by a consensus resolution, urged the government to repeal the bill with immediate effect.

“The bill binds youngsters in Sindh to keep their ancestral religion till the age of 18 years, which is in open defiance of Islam. It also binds newly Muslims not to disclose their Islam till 21 days and to spend this period at a safe house being run by the government where they will be briefed about other religions.”

The resolution mentioned that several Companions of the Prophet (peace be upon him), including Hazrat Ali, had accepted Islam in their early years.

Leaders and representatives of around two dozen religious and political parties participated in the meeting.

JI leader Advocate Asadullah Bhutto raised several questions on the contents of the bill. He described the condition of ‘21 days’ as illegal detention.

“Sindh is a land of Sufis and people from 14 centuries have been accepting Islam in the motherland. Even, the British government did not dare to impose any ban on accepting Islam,” he said.

“The bill is against the Constitution, basic principles of Islam and human rights,” he said.

He also challenged the government that not a single case of forcible conversion of religion had occurred in Sindh.

JI Karachi chief Hafiz Naeem-ur-Rehman criticised the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, Pakistan Peoples Party and other parliamentary parties for ‘exploiting’ Islam.

Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf leader Sarwar Rajput criticised the government for the bill.

Qari Usman of the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam criticised the Sindh chief minister for “taking illogical decisions resulting in anarchy and unrest among masses”.

A Shia Ulema Council leader warned that if the bill was not revoked, it would prove problematic for minorities themselves.

Markazi Jamiat Ahle Hadees, Jamaat-ud-Dawa, Tanzeem-i-Asatiza, Pakistan Awami Tehreek, Jamait Ulema-i-Pakistan, Jamiat Gurba Ahle Hadees leaders and others addressed the conference.

Published in Dawn, December 3rd, 2016

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