SAARC’s role urged for peace, harmony

Sindh High Court Chief Justice Mushir Alam on Wednesday has underlined the need for concerted efforts by South Asian countries to bring harmony in diversity and pluralistic society and ensure peace in the region. He was speaking at the closing session of a two-day conference ‘Religious Minorities and Human Rights: Challenges and Opportunities’ organised by Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research.

In view of the increasing incidents of forced faith conversion, the regional conference demanded that a law should be drafted and enacted to halt forced faith conversion. After hearing from the victim minorities’ families from different parts of Pakistan, the SHC CJ said the incidents narrated by the people are similar to other countries. Most of the incidents will benefit the political groups.

It is responsibility of the people to avoid retaliation against such incidents in which they could not get justice. He realised the fact that there might be weaknesses in judiciary, “but above all it is our responsibility to follow the laws through judiciary.”

He said, “In fact the incidents we are observing in Karachi today are not common in the past. But, there are unequal system and inaccessibility to facilities and resources. And these incidents might be its reflection.”

The CJ said the issue of forced conversions is not common only to minority people but also the Muslim families are facing similar problems. The Muslim girls are leaving parents for wedding on their own choice, he added. “We can see tribal conflict, caste system and social bindings in Pakistan.”

Earlier, the conference through a resolution suggested that the South Asian civil society should take initiative of developing a South Asian Charter for Minority Rights. It demanded that the discriminatory and potentially abusive against religious minorities’ clauses from the Pakistan Penal Code and other legislation be removed.