ISLAMABAD: The Joint Action Committee for People’s Rights in an open letter to the prime minister on Tuesday demanded legal as well as administrative measures to protect minorities especially the underage girls from forced conversions.

The open letter said criminal elements in Punjab and Sindh were involved in forcible abductions, rapes and marriages of Christian and Hindu girls with impunity.

The letter signed by veteran human rights advocates including Irfan Mufti, Peter Jacob, Mohammad Tahseen, Hina Jilani, Rubina Jamil, Syeda Ghulam Fatima, Mehar Safdar, Farooq Tariq and Bushra Khalique demanded that the report of the Parliamentary Committee for Protection of Minorities from Forced Conversions and the draft bill prepared by the Ministry of Human Rights may be made public.

The letter has also urged the prime minister to ensure that the draft bill was presented in the Parliament at the earliest.

The action committee, consisting of 37 human rights groups, also expressed its concern over statements of the minister for religious affairs in which he suggested that there should not age limit for conversion whereas the draft bill sought 18 years age limit.

The committee said such statements were not only against the spirit of the constitution, judgments of the Supreme Court of Pakistan but were also in contradiction to the stand taken by the prime minister against forced conversion of minorities.

Published in Dawn, October 13th, 2021

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