Shiv Sena on Wednesday said Pakistan should be pressurised to drop a controversial clause in its Hindu Marriage Bill that calls for annulment of marriage if any of the spouses converts their religion.

The clause 12 (iii) of the Bill says a marriage will be annulled if any of the spouses converts their religion, sparking a debate that this may trigger forced conversions of minority community women there. "This is a conspiracy to convert the remaining Hindus and the clause is thus being strongly opposed by Hindus living in Pakistan. People feel such a clause will lead to increasing cases of conversions of Hindu women," the Sena said in its mouthpiece 'Saamana'.

It said that during partition, the population of Muslims in India was around 3 crore and the number has since then shot up to 25 crore. "On the other hand, Hindus constituted around 22 per cent of Pakistan's population during partition. The number has now come down to 1.7 per cent," it added. The Sena further said there were 428 temples in the neighbouring country during partition and the number has now decreased to 26.

"To prevent extinction of Hindus from Pakistan and to save their lives, Pakistan needs to be pressurized to drop the clause from the Bill," the Sena said.

On February 15, Pakistan's Sindh Assembly passed the Hindu Marriage Bill making the province the first in the country to allow the minority community to register their marriages. The landmark bill will apply to entire Sindh province, which has a sizeable population of Hindus.

It was passed after a national parliamentary panel last week cleared its draft, paving way for registration of marriage and divorce for the Hindu community in Pakistan.

The bill fixes the minimum age of marriage at 18. Other provinces and the federal government need to adopt separate bills to enable Hindu get marriages registered.