Pakistan Christian Congress urges Christians to stay away from election 2008, being held under Joint Elections and terms selection of Christians on reserved seats as undemocratic. The Joint Election system is imposed on millions of Christian to deprive of their democratic right to elect their representations by their own votes. The behaviors of leading Muslim political groups negate true spirit of Joint elections on failure to award party tickets to any Christian on general seats in elections of 2002 and 2008.
The Joint Election is conspiracy against Christians to hijack their vote bank and distribute their reserved seats by Muslim feudal lords and business class politicians. The Muslim leaders are fully aware that Muslim voters shall never vote for their Christian nominees from any constituency in Pakistan and such fear have prevented them to give party ticket to any Christian in election 2008 also.
After implementation of Joint Elections in 2002, the Christians have been booked under blasphemy law, dozens of Christians women have been kidnapped, raped and forcibly converted to marry Muslims, Pastors have been attacked, Churches have been desecrated and congregates threatened. There was no development budget for selected Christian parliamentarians, Christian youth was denied Jobs and silence prevailed on floors of houses. The Joint Elections ended our voice and democratic rights in Pakistan.
The Christian leaders only demanded Separate Electorate for their crucial vote in existence of Pakistan before Boundary Commission and in London Round Table Conferences during Pakistan Movement. The founder of Pakistan extended written assurance of allocation of Separate Electorate to Christians in Pakistan along with equal basic rights and due share in resources of state.
Unfortunately, the Muslim historians after independence, intentionally never admitted positive role of Christian in existence of Pakistan to credit solely to only Muslim while governments hatched conspiracies to snatch Separate Electorate and turn Christians to be second-class citizens.
The Christians enjoyed Separate Electorate from 1947 till 1956 when Separate Electorates was abolished in name of "Constitution of Pakistan" which claimed guarantees of equal rights to every citizen but Christians struggle for revival of Separate Electorate became successful in 1985.
Under Separate Electorates, Christians shared due job opportunities and civic development. The voice of Christian rights and their presence in Pakistan was being heard in National assembly, which was never appreciated by Muslim leaders.
The Muslim political parties engaged some so-called Christian leaders to demand Joint Electorate to capture Christian vote bank and to select puppet leadership on reserved seats for Christians in National Assembly of Pakistan and Provincial Assemblies.
The Muslim political parties claimed that Muslims voters shall vote for Christian candidates from their party platforms in Joint Election and minorities shall be back in mainstream politics. The Muslim leaders blamed Separate Electorate to be root cause of Christian victimization under blasphemy laws and assured no arrests after Joint Elections. Such false propaganda provided an opportunity to Musharraf regime to abolish Separate Electorate in 2002.
It will be amazing to note that large population of Muslims in Pakistan is practicing Separate Electorate with Dual Voting rights. The Kashmiri Muslims living in Pakistan cast their votes to elect half of Azad Kashmir Assembly members from Pakistani territory and also vote in elections of Pakistan. Why Dual Voting rights for Muslims and denial to Christians?
The Pakistan Christian Congress appeals to Muslim political groups to revise their decision to support Joint Electorate and clarify their position on allocation of Dual Voting rights with Separate Electorate to Christians. The Christians are son of soil and creator of Pakistan and deserve due share and equal rights in power and resources of Pakistan.
The Christian's demand of Dual voting with Separate electorate ensures equal basic democratic rights while selection of their representation by Muslims under Joint election system is contrary to democracy.
Dr. Nazir S Bhatti,
President, Pakistan Christian Congress