APC Pledges To Revitalize Christian Personal Laws

ISLAMABAD, (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News – 3rd Dec, 2023) In a landmark All-Parties Conference (APC) on ‘Christian Personal Laws’ hosted at a local hotel, representatives from major political parties, minority community leaders, and diverse civil society groups convened to advocate for a comprehensive revision of long-standing ‘Christian Personal Laws.’

Over two hundred participants, including PML-N, PPP, ANP, PTI, MQM, and the Quami Awami Party, along with clergy leaders, lawyers, journalists, and human rights advocates, joined forces to emphasize the pressing need for an update to the outdated Christian Divorce Act 1869 and the Christian Marriage Act 1872.

Prominent leaders of the Christian community, backed by religious scholars, have meticulously crafted an updated draft addressing crucial aspects such as marriage, divorce, custody, maintenance, inheritance, and adoption.

Former Senator Farhatullah Babar expressed his commitment to include this reform in the party manifesto for upcoming general elections.

The conference received a boost as leaders like Hassan Babar, Sofia Saeed, and Shoaib Shaheen pledged similar commitments. Notably, Neelofar Bakhtiar, Chairperson of the National Commission on the Status of Women (NCSW), lent her support as a keynote speaker, vowing full assistance from her commission.

Mahnaz Akbar Aziz, a former MNA from PML-N, highlighted the importance of upholding the rights of all minorities, asserting that Christians have the liberty to demand laws aligned with their aspirations. Bishop Samuel Azariah, Director of the Christian Study Centre, emphasized the urgency of revising laws that no longer suit the current societal context.

Sumera Shafique, a member of the National Lobbying Delegation for Minority Rights, reminded attendees that although the Federal cabinet approved the bill to amend the Christian Divorce Act 1869 in 2019, its implementation remains pending. She urged the government to expedite the bill’s passage in parliament.

Anthony Naveed, an ex-MPA from Sindh Assembly, underscored the need to revise existing laws, particularly those allowing marriage at young ages, which clash with the community’s aspirations.

Dr Shoaib Suddle, Chairperson of the One-Man Commission on Minorities, assured the Christian community of support, expressing optimism about the prompt implementation of the revised laws.

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