KARACHI: The Sindh chief minister called for preparing a draft law with the help of legislators and lawyers belonging to the minority communities to protect the rights of the religious minorities at both the federal and provincial levels. The draft law would be presented in the Sindh Assembly and National Assembly for debate and legislation, said Qaim while addressing a large number of representatives of the Hindu community, traders and businessmen at a dinner hosted in his honour by his special assistant, Pahlaj Mal, at a local hotel on Monday evening.
The chief minister condemned the forced conversion of Hindu girls and kidnapping of Hindu businessmen. He said that all administrative measures had been adopted by the provincial government to protect the rights of the minorities to ensure their safety and to provide them friendly atmosphere for economic, social as well as religious activities. Expressing deep concerns over the migration of some Hindu families, he said his government was well aware of the problems of the Hindu community. “We are making all out-efforts to ensure safety of the minorities. No-one will be permitted to disturb this peace loving community.” Qaim said the Hindu community was an integral part of the province. “They immensely contributed to progress and development of the province through their businesses and trade activities.” He said the1973 Constitution ordered special emphasis to protection the rights of the minorities. Qaim added that “Sadhu Bello at Sukkur” was not only a religious place for the Hindus, but also a historical site. He added that a sum of Rs25 million was allocated for repair and renovation of the site in the last fiscal year budget but that could not be utilised. He said that Rs400 million had been earmarked for the same purpose in the current fiscal year. He urged upon the minority MPAs concerned to constitute a committee for proper utilisation of funds so that the cultural site could be protected and saved. The chief minister also announced a grant of Rs10 million for the All-Pakistan Hindus’ Panchayat Forum, a representative body of the Hindu community working for the protection of the rights of the community. He also announced the creation of endowment fund for free treatment of poor persons of the Hindu community at government hospitals. The chief minister said that not only the 5 percent jobs quota for the minorities was being implemented strictly, but competent and educated candidates belonging to the minorities were coming to civil services through the SPSC competitive exam. Speaking on the occasion, Federal Minister for Religious Affairs Syed Khursheed Ahmed Shah said the Hindu Community was the beauty of Sindh and after the partition of the Subcontinent, the migrated Hindu community even in India kept the identification of Sindh intact. The PPP government would make all-out efforts to solve the problems of the Hindu community at the federal level. He said that creation of separate endowment fund for treatment of poor Hindu community was a great step by the Sindh chief minister. From the fund, Rs3.5 million poor Hindus would be benefited. He said that for 5 per cent representation of the minorities in assemblies, legislation was required.“Efforts in this direction would be made by the PPP,” he added. The minister said that forced conversion of Hindu girls would not be tolerated at any cost. Sindh Assembly Speaker Nisar Ahmed Khuhro said the PPP had been committed to protection of the rights of the minorities. Expressing deep concerns over the forced conversions, kidnapping for ransom, Khuhro assured the Hindu community of the government support in this respect.