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Business Recorder

Published Date: Dec 27, 2016

Sindh government urged to avoid backtracking from progressive legislation

Showing strong resentment on indications of reverting back the recent legislation of forced conversions by ruling political party in Sindh, the political and civil society leadership has said that such retreat would render irreparable damaged to political and parliamentary forces and would be a total surrender before the non-state retrogressive elements. The speakers expressed these views while addressing the seminar entitled ‘Progressive Legislation: Prospects and Challenges’, organised by Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) here on Monday.
Speaking on the occasion, Pakistan People’s Party Parliamentarians (PPPP) Senator, Farhatullah Babar said that legislation was sole prerogative of parliament but unfortunately, the ‘National Security Brigade’ and ‘National Ideology Brigade’ have always been creating huge impediment for the progressive legislation in the country. He said that progressive laws and supremacy of parliament doesn’t suit to these two brigades and that was the very reason that Right to Information Bill was left in doldrums.
He said, the political leadership would be facing tremendous pressure from certain quarters. Farhatullah Babar said that such pressures were result of a mindset that our state has been cultivating since last so many decades. However he said, civil society of Pakistan should raise its voice strongly and must remind the government and parliamentarians that Pakistan is signatory of several international conventions and convocations with clear commitments of taking measures to protect human rights and rights of the marginalized groups of society.
He suggested that civil society should also remain vigilant on responses of government of Pakistan on 17 questions by UN Information Committee that were about the measures on insuring human rights. He said that civil society shouldn’t allow government to file responses based on lies and deceits.
Romana Bashir, right activist and head of Peace and Development Foundation (PDF) said that reversal of the legislation of forced conversions by Sindh Assembly would show the weakness of the state and hence, it would render religious minorities to a total hopeless situation.
Zahid Hussain, renowned journalist and political analyst on the occasion said such progressive legislation was need of hour keeping in view the growing incidents of kidnapping and forced marriages and conversions of Hindu women and girls. He said that reversal of this progressive legislation would be seen as parliamentarians have no rights of legislation and some unelected pressure groups could dictate the terms. Jagmohan Kumar Arora, right activist and leader of Hindu community said this legislation by Sindh Assembly had revived hopes among the oppressed religious minorities for a better future which was not turning into despair.