Karachi [Pakistan], August 14 (ANI): Hundreds of individuals from minority and marginalised communities in Pakistan held the first ‘Minority Rights March’ at Frere Hall area of Karachi on Friday, advocating for their rights and demanding an end to the practice of forced conversions.
Demanding urgent action to address the pressing issues faced by religious minorities in the country, the enthusiastic participants displayed banners calling for an end to abductions, harassment, forced conversions and marriages and rape of women and girls of religious minorities.
The march emphasized the need for legislation that criminalizes forced conversion, a concern that has troubled minorities for a long. The participants came from Hindu, Christian, Sikh and other religious minority communities in Pakistan.
They collectively urged the government to ensure equal rights and equal opportunities for minority citizens in holding offices of national leadership, besides raising other issues related to property rights, with calls to return properties belonging to religious minorities that have been unjustly encroached on, sold, or leased to others.
Zahid Farooq, a minority rights activist, commenting on the potential benefits of providing equal rights to religious minorities, said that Pakistan’s progress could be enhanced through inclusivity and equal treatment for all citizens.
Zahid stressed that these rights need to be acknowledged and respected by all in accordance with the law, and anticipated that these issues will garner support from political parties in the upcoming general elections.
The transgender community leader, Shehzadi Rai, Karachi mayor Murtaza Wahab, and social activist Zulfikar Bhutto Jr, also joined the march in solidarity with the minority communities.
The speakers during the meeting amplified the call for the government to address the legitimate demands and concerns of religious minority groups across the country.
One of the other participants recalled the famous line of Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan that claimed, “You are free to go to temple, you are free to go to church, and you are free to go to mosque”.
The participants claimed that Jinnah’s words were not honoured even after 76 years of Pakistan’s creation. Hindus, Christians, Ahmadis, Shias, Hazaras, and others continue to be targets of violence. (ANI)
This report is auto-generated from ANI news service. ThePrint holds no responsibility for its content.