There is no concept of forced marriage or forced conversion in Islam, Imran Khan’s special representative on Religious Harmony and Middle East has said Hafiz Tahir Ashrafi said the responsibility of protecting the rights of religious minorities should fall on the state, and religious minorities should not live in fear in Pakistan as they are protected by the state.
Speaking at the Inter-Faith Conference for Young Women organised by the Inter-Faith Harmony Council and Diocese of Peshawar, Church of Pakistan, he also said inter-faith harmony councils were being established across the country.
The conference also heard that efforts are being made to stop misuse of the blasphemy law.
Ashrafi said the event was a step towards de-radicalisation of society and added that women and girls play an important role in the reformation process.
He said that both Muslims and non-Muslims had played a vital role in the creation of Pakistan.
Ashrafi called on organisations raising issues abroad to first try and raise their complaints
with the Ministry of Human Rights or any official forum, so action can be taken.
As well as saying that the constitution of Pakistan provides equal rights to non-Muslims, Ashrari said rhe concept of forced marriage and forceful conversion to Islam is against Islamic teachings,
He added that killing a non-Muslim or damaging their property had nothing to do with Islam.
Speaking at the same conference Human rights minister Shireen Mazari said the draft of the Christian Marriage and Divorce Bill - a new bill to address laws governing Christian marriage and divorce - had been finalised by the government of Pakistan.
She added that Islam gives the responsibility to respect all religions, and Pakistan is among the countries which provide personal laws to minorities, including the Hindu Marriage Bill.
The minister said the government had also taken some legislative measures to protect women's rights such as the Anti-Rape Ordinance and the Forced Conversion Marriages Bill.