Pakistani Hindus demand a law against forced conversion and child marriages

By: Ramesh Vankwani, Islamabad.

Resolution against forced conversions & child marriages*
ISLAMABAD (26-03-2019): Prominent Hindu Lawmaker Dr Ramesh Kumar Vankwani has tabled two bills and one resolution against forced conversions, child marriages and for protection of minorities throughout the country. Condemning the recent abduction of two Hindu sisters named Reena and Raveena, he also submitted a five-point resolution, which was supported by minority parliamentarians from various political parties, including:  Lal Malhi (PTI), Dr Darshan (PMLN), Ms. Shunila Ruth (PTI), and Ramesh Lal (PPPP).
The bill titled “the Child Marriage Restraint Act (Amendment  2019”, seek to make provisions for the right of freedom of marriage and ban on child marriages. Forced Marriage means a marriage where one or both parties have not given their consent and in prohibited under Section 498B of Pakistan Penal Code (Act XLV of 1860), he described in the bill.
Dr Ramesh Vankwani, who is also patron-in-chief of Pakistan Hindu Council, emphasized in the bill titled “The Criminal Law (Protection of Minorities) Act 2019” that no person shall be deemed to have changed their religion until they attain the age of 18 years.  He further stated that any person who forcefully converts another person shall be liable to punishment and a fine to be paid to the victim. “Whoever performs, conducts, directs, brings about or in any way or facilitates a marriage having knowledge that either or both parties are victim of forced conversion shall be liable to imprisonment of either description for minimum three years and a fine to be paid to the victim,” the draft said, emphasizing that this shall also include any person who have provided the logistic support and any other essential services for such forced marriage ceremony. He also elaborated the role of government for curbing such social crimes.
The resolution also demanded to take strict action against culprits including controversial religious figures such as Mian Mithu Bharchoondi and Pir Ayub Jan Sirhindi for their alleged role. He asked the parliament to seek answers from such elements that why neither boy nor old woman, only young girls are converting religion? “All of those who are preaching hate under the cover of religion must be handled like banned religious organizations,” the resolution stated. 

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