RAWALPINDI, Pakistan: The Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) organized a session on “Forced Conversion” at Bright Hall School in Satellite Town Rawalpindi as part of a series of events initiated for the capacity building of minority leaders.
The session was organized under the auspices of the Coordinator Samuel Bashir and Jayaa Jaggi.
The session was joined by journalists, students, academia experts, civil society members and minority counselors.
Its purpose was to aware the participants regarding facts and figures and proper statistics of the cases of Forced Conversions from 2013 to 2020 and ignited a healthy debate to eradicate this problem from the society.
The following recommendations were made at the end of the session;
- The Federal Ministry of Human Rights should carry out a comprehensive study and analysis of the issue including under-trial cases, and the remedies, if any, provided by the concerned departments and institutions.
- The Parliamentary Committee established in November 2019 should only make statements based on factual inquiries and comprehensive data analysis.
- The police all over the country must investigate all pending cases and future cases under Section 498 B Pakistan Penal Code, as this enactment is particularly relevant to forced conversion and marriages involving minority women. However, the proviso has not been put to practice since the enactment in 2017.
- An amendment bill in the Criminal Procedure Code should be introduced that makes all religious conversions be acknowledged, verified and validated by a Senior Civil Judge to ascertain the presence of a free will, consent, in addition to the appropriateness of age and marital status of the parties.
- The Majority Act and Child Marriage Restraint Act be amended to bring these into conformity with NADRA ACT and other laws on the majority.
- An autonomous, empowered and statutory National Commission for Minorities Rights be constituted without further delay.
- The Chief Justice of Pakistan is respectfully urged to consider sensitization of the judiciary and judicial officers on the issue of forced conversions and the above-mentioned recommendations.