Christian Representation and Dual Voting; By S P John


The announcement of Pakistan’s Prime Minster to uplift the religious minorities of Pakistan and to ensure protection of their rights with equal representation in different fields has been taken with great gratification and joyfulness by the minorities of Pakistan.
Minorities applaud the 100 days programme of the government that also includes empowerment of minorities. We hope that as the history of Pakistan is in making, minorities of Pakistan will also be acknowledge for their sacrifices rendered for the integrity and development of our mother land.
It is rightly said that actions speak louder than words; just after the announcement of package for minorities that seemed a pack of bounties; the formation of federal cabinet that includes 11 ministers from the PPP and nine from the PML-N, two from the ethnic Pashtun Awami National Party, one from the hardline Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam and one member from the tribal areas bordering Afghanistan, lay bare the commitment of government as no minority members is taken into cabinet.
Over the past decades specifically during the Islamization era of Zia ul Haq, minorities were reduced to second grade citizens of the country through promulgation of various laws and ordinances, which continue to haunt them till today with the existence of discriminatory laws and biased measures taken by the successive governments.
Christian community in particular has been targeted and intentionally ostracized in the past. Even in the present government the representation of Christians in the National Assembly at reserved seats is not in accordance with their population. Hindus who constitute 1/4 of minority population, out number Christians in the National Assembly. Christians who are in majority among minorities’ communities of Pakistan are reduced considerably in the National Assembly. Such a representation of minority community on reserved seats at national level has caused serious apprehension among the Christian community who find it beyond any justification.
This is really a mockery with system and with religious minorities particularly with Christian community. It is therefore, demanded of the government that the necessary amendment in the constitution be made, giving the proper representation to religious minorities in proportionate to their population in the legislative assemblies of Pakistan. the dual voting rights should be given to minorities so they may express their will and elect their own representatives.
It is also beseeched that Pakistan People’s Party, while honouring its commitment must include minorities in every walk of field and give dual voting rights to minorities so they may express their will and elect their representatives. Their claim of being liberal and progressive has already been put to test and proven with the neglect and exclusion of minority representative in the cabinet. The government has certainly given clear message that minorities are still not emancipated and are the second grade citizen, which is disenchanting and disheartening.
It is not worthy that if the democratic process in any state has to be checked than one must look at how their minorities are treated. No society can aspire to call itself democratic if it systematically excludes specific groups from the full protection of the laws, provision of equal rights and opportunities.

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