While reading a report in one of the daily newspapers covering the story of a newly converted girl, I noticed that the girl did not have an NIC and secondly, that she was certified as Muslim by a Dargah. Ironically, claiming to be a democratic society, we are still unable to decide the maturity and puberty (aqil and balig) age of an individual. The constitution of Pakistan describes 18 years to be a suitable age, yet our religious bodies disagree; particularly in the case of marriage. Besides determining the age of marriage, there also seems to be negligence in the case of a convert’s age (particularly girls). However, one should be constitutionally mature at the time of conversion so that the decision to convert is taken wisely.

Many claim that non-Muslim girls are forcibly converted by dargahs and madrasahs. Why is a dargah or madrasah authorized to certify a conversion of faith, rather than state institutions, like courts? There will be a decrease of complaints if the courts are empowered to certify a person rather than religious seminaries.

SANAULLAH QAZI,

Lahore, May 12.