Pakistan: Hundreds participate in 'Minority Rights March' in Karachi, demanding to end practice of forced conversion
Hundreds of people participated in the first 'Minority Rights March' at the Frere Hall area of Pakistan's Karachi city on Friday when they demanded an end to the practice of forced conversions.
The participants belonged to minority and marginalised communities of the country.
Demanding urgent action to address the pressing issues faced by religious minorities in the country, the 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 long troubled minorities in the South Asian country.
The participants, who belonged to the Hindus, Christians, Sikhs and other religious minorities, collectively urged the government to ensure equal rights and equal opportunities for minority citizens in holding offices of national leadership.
Zahid Farooq, a minority rights activist, who highlighted the potential benefits of providing equal rights to religious minorities, said: "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.
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.
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