KARACHI - Terming the passage of Sindh Criminal Law (Protection of Minorities) Bill-2015 a controversial legislation, religious parties on Wednesday announced to start protests across Sindh from December 16.

Milli Yakjehti Council (MYC) Pakistan and Jamaat-ud-Da’wa (JuD) have separately announced to gear up the drive against the bill, passed on November 24 in Sindh Assembly.

The bill bans embracing of Islam before the age of 18, and makes it mandatory for those wishing to embrace Islam to take sessions on other religions at a particularly designated shelter house. 

MYC President Sahabzada Abul Khair and Secretary Liaquat Baloch on Wednesday announced to observe Friday as a protest day across Sindh.

The announcement came at a press conference, following an important session of the council at JI Karachi headquarters Idara Noor-e-Haq.

Speaking on the occasion, MYC president made it clear that any attempt to change the blasphemy law or to legislate against the constitution of Pakistan would not be accepted.

He also condemned the attack on a congregation held in connection with 12th of Rabiulawal, reportedly by Qadiyanis.

MYC Secretary and JI Central Leader Liaquat Baloch said that Islam does not permit its followers to compel anyone to accept Islam. “But forcing and influencing someone not to accept Islam is also against Islam; unethical, illogical and against the constitution of the country,” he added.

He severely criticised the provincial government for taking illogical measures to please its foreign handlers.

He demanded the Sindh government to ban liquor and bring down the prices of life saving drugs.

Baloch also criticised the federal government for its inability to act against corruption.

The JI leader stressed that Panama leaks issue should meet its logical end.

Earlier, a high-level meeting of the council elected JI Deputy Chief Asadullah Bhutto as MYC Sindh president while Qazi Ahmed Noorani of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI) was elected as Secretary General of the council.

Meanwhile, JuD Karachi President has announced to initiate movement against the bill from December 16.

The decision came after a consultative session of the religious parties held at Masjid-e-Taqwa in Gulshan-e-Iqbal.

JuD Karachi chief Muzammil Iqbal Hashmi, JI’s Asadullah Bhutto, JUI-F’s Maulana Abdul Kareem, JUP’s Qazi Ahmad Noorani, JUI-S’s Hafiz Ahmad Ali and others attended the session.

During the session, JuD Karachi chief announced that all religious parties had agreed to observe Friday as a protest day. “Furthermore, Difa-e-Islam Karwan would be held on December 18 to register protest against the controversial bill passed in Sindh Assembly,” he said, and added, “These demonstrations are part of the movement initiated to condemn and build pressure on the provincial government to withdraw anti-Islam bill.”

He warned, “If the rulers did not take the issue seriously, then all the parties would lay siege to the Sindh Assembly.”