Bill against child marriage and forced conversion moved in Pakistan Parliament

Islamabad: A Hindu member of parliament from Prime Minister Imran Khan’s party has moved two bills in Parliament seeking enhancement of punishment for those involved in forced conversion and for making child marriage a cognizable offence. The move came after the nationwide outrage over the alleged forced conversion of two teenage girls from the minority community.

As reported by News 18, Dr Ramesh Kumar Vankwani from the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) submitted Child Marriage Restraint Act (Amendment) Bill 2019 and the Criminal Law (Protection of Minorities) Act 2019 in National Assembly on Tuesday.

According to Dawn, the bills were moved in the wake of alleged kidnapping of two Hindu girls and their forced conversion to Islam. It was accompanied by a resolution with the support of minority lawmakers from all major political parties condemning such incidents.

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The resolution was signed by Vankwani, PTI legislators Lal Malhi and Shunila Ruth, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz lawmaker Dr Darshan and Pakistan Peoples Party’s Ramesh Lal.

Calling for immediate passage of the bill against forced conversions, which had been unanimously passed by the Sindh Assembly in 2016 and then reverted due to the pressure of extremist elements, from all the legislatures, the five-point resolution demanded strict action against the culprits including controversial religious figures who are involved in forced conversions.

The resolution demanded, “All those who are preaching hate under the cover of religion must be handled like banned religious organisations.”

Patron-in-chief of Pakistan Hindu Council (PHC), Vankwani, told media persons that unfortunately, the practice of child marriage was common in all parts of Pakistan, particularly in poverty-hit areas.

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