The Joint Action Committee for People’s Rights (JAC), which is a collection of 37 human rights groups, urged Prime Minister Imran Khan in an open letter to take legal as well as administrative measures to protect minorities, especially underage girls who were victims of forced conversions and marriages.
The letter emphasized that criminal elements in Punjab and Sindh were operating with impunity in forcible abductions, rapes, and marriages of Christian and Hindu girls.
The letter was signed by veteran human rights advocates including Irfan Mufti, Peter Jacob, Muhammad Tahseen, Hina Jilani, Rubina Jamil, Syeda Ghulam Fatima, Mehar Safdar, Farooq Tariq, and Bushra Khalique. It demanded that the report of the Parliamentary Committee for Protection of Minorities from Forced Conversions and the draft bill prepared by the Ministry of Human Rights, should be made public to gather informed support in Pakistan. The letter has also urged PM Khan to ensure approval of the draft bill for timely enforcement of the legislation.
The document also referred to the rights of religious minorities enshrined in the constitution of Pakistan. The JAC expressed concern on the religious affairs minister’s statements on the draft bill to curb forced conversions, saying that such statements were against the constitution’s spirit and the Supreme Court’s judgments. The collective added that the statements also contradicted PM Khan’s stance against forced conversion of minority groups in Pakistan.