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Pakistan lawmakers seek amendment in Hindu Marriage bill

Gorkha Post



ISLAMABAD — Within days of Pakistan becoming the first Muslim country to give Hindus the right to register their marriage, a lawmaker in the national assembly has sought amendment in the Hindu Marriage Bill.

Pakistan Muslim League-N member Ramesh Kumar Vankwami on Wednesday won the support of the Senate Functional Committee on Human Rights for amending the bill already cleared by a National Assembly committee.

Vankwami had been demanding removal of a clause in the draft of Hindu Marriage Bill that stated that a marriage would be dissolved if any of the spouses converted to another religion.

“The clause can be misused to forcefully convert married Hindu women the same way young girls have been kidnapped and forced to convert to other religions,” he pleaded with the committee.

The bill was passed on Monday by lawmakers in Sindh province — home to the majority of Pakistan’s three million Hindus.

Clause 12 of the bill hit the basic human rights of the Hindus living in Pakistan, he said.

Senator Farhatullah Babar supported annulling “the repressive” clause. “It amounts to promoting forced conversions not only of young unmarried girls but also of married Hindu women. It is a grave human rights violation of the Hindus,” said Babar.

Vankwami’s argument was that Hindu men and women cannot marry a co-religionist or outside their religion until they are 18. “That is the age the custodianship of their parents ends,” he said.

The senate committee members pointed out that other religious communities had no fixed minimum age for marriage, leaving it to their reaching adulthood.

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“We better leave that matter to the discretion of the members of the Hindu community,” committee chairperson Nasreen Jalil said.

The Hindu Marriage Bill requires married couples to obtain a marriage registration certificate. A couple can be fined for not doing so under the draft law which, when passed, will apply retroactively to existing marriages.

The bill comes at a time of increased violence against Pakistan’s minorities. Some Hindus have fled to India in recent years citing discrimination and religious persecution.

Pakistan was created in 1947 after India was partitioned at the end of the British rule. Today, Hindus are said to make up more than two percent of Pakistan’s population of 182.1 million.


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Chinese Premier Li Keqiang re-appointed to 5-year term

Gorkha Post



BEIJING — The China’s legislature has re-appointed Premier Li Keqiang on Sunday to a second five-year term in the ongoing session of the 13th National People’s Congress.

National People’s Congress delegates voted 2,964 to 2 to approve Li’s appointment. This comes a day after party leader Xi Jinping was reappointed China’s president with no limits on how many terms he can serve.

According to media sources, the legislature also approved the appointment of a director for a new anti-corruption agency.

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Likewise, Further Wang Qishan was appointed as the Vice President of China. Yang Xiaodu was appointed the Director of National Supervisory commission which acts as an anti-graft committee.

Political analysts see the creation of the anti-graft agency as part of efforts to enforce party control over an increasingly complex society and government.

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