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Punjab, Sindh asked to pass Hindu Marriage Bill

ISLAMABAD: Standing Committee on Law, Justice and Human Rights Chairman MNA Chaudhry Bashir Mahmood Virk yesterday asked the Punjab and Sindh to adopt Hindu Marriage Bill otherwise the federal government would pass it without awaiting the provinces’ action.

Bashir Virk said this during a national conference on the Hindu Marriage Bill.
The event was attended by over 250 Hindu leaders and many other representatives of other minorities in Pakistan.

Virk told the participants that the bill had been awaiting action for the last three years, but the provinces had not been carrying out the required legislation.
He said last year the committee sent several letters and requests to the provincial assemblies to pass resolutions to extend this law to the respective provinces otherwise it would be limited to the federal capital only.

“Ideally, there should be one civil marriage law.
I tell my Muslim fellows to love Hindus and Christians as they are the most loyal people.
To me, anyone who is loyal to Pakistan is my brother and sister irrespective of his/her religion.
” The lawmaker said.

The assemblies of Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have already passed resolutions accepting the federal law for their provinces.
Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Pervez Rashid, also having the portfolio of law, justice and human rights, tabled the Hindu Marriage Bill, 2015, in the Parliament, but it was deferred for a month in July last year.
However, there has been no development on the issue.
Mary Gill MPA, a lawyer by profession, reiterated, “There should be a unified marriage law for Hindus across Pakistan and the Punjab Assembly will pass a resolution in the upcoming session so that the federal law could be extended to the Punjab province.

“Our leadership is very clear on passing the Hindu Marriage Bill.
It is committed to the welfare and security of minorities and also ensures that their personal laws are updated,” said Mary Gill.

Jai Prakash Moorani, president, Hyderabad Press Club, said adoption of this law would give an impression and feeling to the minorities that they had been recognised as equal citizens of Pakistan as per the Constitution.
He said the absence of personal laws for Hindus gave the impression that the community was not treated as equal citizens.

Krishan Sharma, chairman, Rights of Expression, Assembly, Association and Thought (REAT) network, said the Hindu community had suffered because of the absence of personal laws in several ways.
“If a married Hindu woman is abducted and forcibly married, her family has no means to prove her marriage.
” He regretted.

Prakash Mahtani, an advocate of human rights, said the Sindh Assembly must pass a resolution in this direction so that the federal law could be extended to that province as majority of Hindus lived in that province.

Published in The Nation newspaper on 28-Jan-2016

Source: The Nation