We have witnessed a spectacular display of compassion by Jacinda Ardern, prime minister of New Zealand. The manner in which she stood up to protect and assure less than 1% of Muslim population was exemplary and a lesson for the world. Following brutal act of terrorism by a white supremacist. There exists a law in Pakistan, which bans marriage of girls below the age of 18 years, which apparently is, by marriage of two minor Hindu girls from Gothki. An independent forensic medical verification is imminent to establish the age of these girls.

The State must use its writ to give exemplary punishment upon violation of law, irrespective of populist reaction. There is no concept of forced conversion in Islam.

PM Ardern took a principle stance although her coalition government includes New Zealand First party. Within a week of this outrageous massacre, possession of automatic and semi-automatic weapons was illegal. She visited bereaved families to restore their sense of insecurity. This is what distinguishes a leader. One with compassion and respect for human rights and the rule of law from those who ride populist sentiments. It is time that PPP, PTI, PMLN, etc. and their leadership walks their talk about reviving Mohd Ali Jinnah’s vision.

The fact of the marriage is that Hindu marriage act passed by the Sindh assembly. This reminds me of Quaid e Azam’s 11 August 1947 speech, while addressing First Constituent Assembly of Pakistan. Jinnah advised them to draft a constitution for a modern democratic welfare state where all citizens would be free to exercise their faith and enjoy equal rights.

The mediocrity and opportunists who have ruled us have inflicted enough damage. It is time to follow MAJ’s vision in totality.

MALIK TARIQ ALI,

Lahore, March 26.