Sindh takes lead

Amjad Ali

Forced conversion has been criminalised by Sindh Assembly. Law maker Nand Kumar Gokhlani presented a private bill last year which was passed by Sindh Assembly as “Criminal Law (Protection of Minorities) Act, 2015.” This law criminalizes the conversion under duress. Moreover, it stipulates punishment of five years to life imprisonment. Facilitators would also be punished up to three years. Aggressor and the facilitator would also have to pay the fine to the victim. Besides, if any one wants to be converted according to his own consent, he should at least be of eighteen years of age. Sindh Assembly did a commendable job by ensuring the protection of the aggrieved minorities. They have been subjected to forced conversion and later the abductors used to marry the girls. According to the human rights organizations every year there are around 1,000 cases of forced conversion in Sindh and Punjab. There might be some opposition from the parochial mindset against the historic move. However, it should be ignored because protection and freedom of minorities is the utmost priority as guaranteed by the Constitution. Besides, Sindh has taken the lead by laying down the foundation of the much needed legislation, other provinces should follow suit. Sooner the better.

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