KARACHI: The Sindh government has decided to review the protection of minorities bill, which had been recently passed by the provincial assembly, after religious scholars objected to some of its clauses.

The decision was indicated in a policy statement issued by Senior Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Nisar Ahmad Khuhro here on Friday.

This bill, which was passed by the assembly in the last week of November, invited the ire of religious scholars who believed some of its clauses were against the teachings of Islam and contrary to the Constitution.

Mr Khuhro, who is also the Sindh chapter president of the PPP, recalled that according to Surah Al-Baqar Ayat 256 of the Holy Quran the religion could not be changed forcibly, therefore, no Muslim could think contrary to the teachings nor could legislate such a law.

He said the marriage of a person aged less than 18 years was banned as its law existed on the statutory book. He said there was no restriction of the age on change of religion, therefore, it should not be linked with the age of marriage as such this misunderstanding ought to be removed.

“Forcible conversion to the religion and solemnizing wedding under 18 years of age was contrary to the Shariat and constitution and the Sindh assembly has not carried any legislation against Shariat and the constitution but only forcible conversion of religion under 18 years of age and getting married has been declared illegal,” said Mr Khuhro.

He said the bill of protection to the minorities had been sent to the governor for his assent. Whether the governor gave his assent or not, the bill in both the conditions would be reviewed and amended by the assembly, he added.

The minister said the Sindh government did not like to make it an issue of its ego, as such the assembly could again review any clause of the bill.

Published in Dawn, December 17th, 2016

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