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Religious Affairs Minister Opposes Step To Prevent Forced Conversions

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Minister for Religious Affairs Noorul Haq Qadri has opposed a proposed restriction on converting religion before the age of 18 years, saying that a teenager cannot be stopped if they wished to convert to a different religion.

He expressed these views during a meeting of the Senate parliamentary committee on minorities’ rights. He categorically said that the government did not support restricting religious conversion before 18 years of age.

He insisted that people before the age of 18 may willingly change their religion in which case they could not be stopped. He added that ‘nikaah’ before the age of 18 was a separate discussion. When the matter of forced conversion in Sindh was brought up, the minister said that it would be investigated. He also suggested that notorious cleric Mian Mithu who is said to have a role in forced conversion in the province be summoned to the committee. “The committee should tell him what he is doing is damaging Islam and Pakistan,” the minister said.

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