SC urged to take a stand on forced conversions | Pakistan Today

SC urged to take a stand on forced conversions

The Catholic (National) Commission for Justice and Peace representatives Fr Emmanuel Yousaf and Peter Jacob on Friday urged the Chief Justice of Pakistan to take a comprehensive look into the issue of forced conversions of non-Muslim girls and to take a firm stand for upholding justice and human rights.
Referring to the recent cases of the conversions of Faryal alias Rinkal Kumari, Haleema alias Asha Kumari and Hafza alias Dr Lata, they said in a statement that the court’s procedures become an instrument of injustice when the principle of ‘free consent’ is applied loosely or selectively, and in disregard to social realities. They said in the cases of these girls’ conversions, the courts did not ascertain the age of the girls and whether the men who had married them, had done so with the consent of their first wives, according to the Muslim Personal Law.
“Applying the principle of free consent without looking at corroborative evidence can result in miscarriage of justice,” the statement read. The CNCJP representatives said: “The law and court procedures cannot work on the assumption that armed and unarmed, minority and majority, men and women enjoy the equal scope of free will in a weaponised, male dominated, violent and bigoted environment.” They added that the Supreme Court had on April 18, raised concerns that the religious minorities are not only demographically threatened, but that the rising religious intolerance in the society also poses problems for them.
They said the court should have applied legal principles for safeguarding the vulnerable girls, like the ones ordered by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry in Ludhani versus State case, by requiring surety for good treatment from the husband and that the converted Hindu women could meet their parents after the marriage. They said the Supreme Court or the government can control the damage to religious diversity by defining forced conversion according to international standards of religious freedom, which include the right to re-convert. “If a conversion comes simultaneously with marriage and the newly converted cannot meet her parents, then it is not an exercise of free choice. The Supreme Court should take notice of the matter of conversions and any cover-up for the crimes committed under the pretext of conversion.” The statement also said the CNCJP would aid the Supreme Court or any other forum if a comprehensive review of the issues is desired.
— halts shifting of Wahdat road school: The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Friday gave orders to stop shifting of City District Government (CDG) Primary School, Wahdat Road to Bhabhra area in Gulberg. Justice Khalid Mehmood Khan passed the order on a petition filed by Muhammad Qasim, whose children study there, challenging transfer of the school to a new site. The petitioner’s counsel said that the Lahore DCO ordered EDO Cantt, on April 16, to shift teaching and non-teaching staff along assets of the said school to CDG Boys School, Bhabhra, Gulberg. The counsel contended that the step would severely impact the families of children as it would increase financial burden on the parents.
— moved for making Urdu official language: A constitutional petition has been moved in the Lahore High Court seeking court directions to the government to make Urdu the official language of the country as per the constitution and vision of the father of the nation. The petition was filed by Rana Illamuddin Gazi, advocate, contending that Urdu was the lingua franca of the country and the constitution also had clear provisions for making Urdu a national and official language of the country. He said that in the last 64 years people had been denied the right to have their own language despite the speeches of the father of the nation stressing on adopting Urdu as the national and official language. He said the successive governments and state functionaries had been violating clear provisions of the 1973 constitution in favour of Urdu language.
He said Article 251 of the constitution was about Urdu as the national language which says, “ National Language…..the national language of Pakistan is Urdu and arrangements shall be made for it being used for official and other purposes within fifteen years from the commencing day”. He said 32 years had passed since when the constitution was passed and the provisions relating official language had not been implemented by the state functionaries. He said it was criminal negligence of the government which could not be tolerated. He prayed to the court to issue directions to the government to take steps to make Urdu an official language.

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  1. Anon said:

    Pakistan's SC is a body of Chaudhry led inept demagogue at best…

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