MMA drops demand for religion in MRP
ISLAMABAD: The Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) on Thursday dropped its demand in the Senate for religion to be listed in the new passports after government senators showed them copies of Saudi passports which do not specify religion.
Speaking on a point of order, Professor Hidayatullah Shah of the MMA criticised the government decision to remove the religion column from the new machine-readable passports.
MMA Senator Professor Ghafoor Ahmed said the removal of the religion column was a “conspiracy by anti-Islam forces” and indicated that Pakistan was being converted into a secular state.
Dr Shahzad Wasim, the minister of state for the interior, informed the Senate that Saudi Arabian passports do not specify religion. “Declaring one’s religion is not the responsibility of the state. A person should declare his own religion. You will notice that there is no column for religion in National Identity Cards,” the minister said.
Dr Wasim placed before the house copies of Saudi, Yemeni and Malaysian machine readable-passports, which do not contain information of the holder’s religion. After looking at the passports, the MMA senators did not press their arguments.