Formation of minorities` rights commission delayed
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By Kalbe Ali | 12/7/2016 12:00:00 AM
ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly`s Standing Committee on Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony on Tuesday failed to take up the draft bill related to the establishment of the Minorities` Rights Commission, leaving the Hindu members of the committee dismayed.

`It has been over a year now that the committee has failed to take up the bill for the establishment of a commission for the minorities. Each time the ministry comes up with a new excuse to delay the matter,` said MNA of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf Lal Chand Malhi.

It was decided in the last meeting that the government bill should be reconciled with the private members` bills.

`Despite the decision, they have come up with another excuse to delay the matter,` Mr Malhi added.

The Secretary for Religious Affairs Sohail Amir said that there were three private bills on the same subject and one of them was prepared by the ministry.

However, Mr Malhi protested that all the private members should withdraw their bills.

After a heated discussion between the members and the officials of the ministry it was decided that all the three bills would be discussed in the next meeting of the committee. `If the two members, Sanjay Perwani and Belum Hasnain, who had presented separate bills for the establishment of minorities commission did not show up then their bills would be dropped,` announced PML-N MNA Hafiz Abdul Kareem.

The committee witnessed another dispute pertaining to the inefficiency and ignorant behaviour of theofficials and lower staff of the ministry of religious affairs.

A similar case was narrated by several members, including Ramesh Lal who said: `I went to the ministry where the officials were distributing Hajforms-butwhenItriedtoapproach them for help regarding a case, nobody bothered to respond because I am Hindu.

MNA Malik Ibrar shared his experience with the inefficient staff of the ministry: `They kept me waiting for four hours and asked me to come at 9pm, but after two hours I was told that an officer had taken my documents to his house.

`We went to his house. The officer was sleeping but we woke him up and asked about the documents. He told me to come at 10 in the morning as the documents were in the office. The next day, people in the office said that someone else had taken the documents,` he said.

He name d the officials in the ministry and said that they continued to call him for another three days,1(ept him waiting for four to five hours and eventually asked for the passports of the intended Hajis. A day before the Hajis had to leave for Haj, Mr Ibrar was informed that his name was removed from the list and he could not perform Haj.

Federal Minister for Religious Affairs Sardar Muhammad Yousuf assured the committee that the ministry would hold an inquiry into the matter and would take strict action against the culprits.

The committee urged the government to abolish the hardship quota of Haj and make disbursement transparent.

It approved the bill titled `The Education of Holy Quran according to recitation with translation and correct pronunciation Bill, 2014`.