Minorities in Pak demand law against forced conversions

Islamabad, Pakistan - Demanding equal opportunities "as promised" by Pakistan founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah, minority organisations have sought a ban on forced conversions and repealing of the stringent blasphemy laws in the Islamic country.

At a congregation held at Minar-i-Pakistan to mark the Minorities Day, All Pakistan Minorities Alliance unveiled a Charter of Demands (COD) asking the government to ensure their adequate representation in the assemblies.

Demanding freedom to practise their religion, they also sought a law to end the practice of converting people by resorting to "kidnapping and blackmailing".

The charter said sections 295-C and 295-B of the Pakistan Penal Code dealing with blasphemy laws should be repealed immediately.

It said that the sanctity of marriages solemnised under the laws of minorities should be protected from violation and dissolutions should be prohibited in case of conversion to any other religion, media reports said here.

Minorities mainly comprising of Hindus, Christians and Sikhs held meetings in Lahore and several other places in the country on Saturday to mark the day.

The charter made an appeal to the government and the Chief Justice to ensure rights of the minorities in accordance with the UN declaration.

It said the government should ensure free, fair and transparent elections under a caretaker set-up, and participation of minorities.