Christians feel insecure on Sharait bill in Pakistan. PCP Report.
26 Jun 2003
Islamabad. June 29. Christian leaders on Friday said implementation of Shariat Bill in the country would further polarize society, endangering integrity and solidarity of the country.
They expressed this view at a press conference on "Maulana Azam Tariq's Shariat Bill: Threat to Minorities?" The programme was organized by the Christian Democratic Front (CDF) at a local hotel.
Chairman CDF Khalil Tahir Sindhu Advocate narrated how the minorities had been feeling insecure and alienated after the Islamization drive of Gen Ziaul Haq.
He dwelt at length on the 17-point Shariat Bill submitted by Azam Tariq in the National Assembly and termed it a replica of the Shariat bills presented in the house in 1990 and 1999 as well as the 15th amendment bill.
"There are around 2.5 per cent non-Muslims in the country and as citizens of Pakistan they expect that all their rights are taken into consideration before formulation of any law," he said.
He admitted that the rules of the bill would not be applied to the personal laws of the non-Muslims as stated in the bill, but feared that after Islamization in every walk of life, the minorities would find it
hard to escape its implications and influences.
The introduction of Shariat in a society already hit by sectarianism, intolerance and hatred would further alienate minorities, he said. He stressed the need for an inter-faith dialogue so as to integrate and cement various sections of society.
George Clement of the PPP said Quaid-i-Azam had envisioned not a theocratic but a liberal and progressive Pakistan where every citizen could enjoy his basic human rights irrespective of colour, caste and creed.
Atif Jamil Pagaan, deputy director Human Development Centre, Naeem Mirza of the Joint Action Committee and Father Shafiq called for creating an atmosphere of harmony and understanding among the followers of different faiths.