Christian leadership conference demands voting rights to elect their parliamentarians


Lahore: January 13, 2017. (PCP) The leaders participating in Christian Leadership Conference held in Caritas Hall Lahore condemned Joint Electorate system imposed on religious minorities on reserved seats in National Assembly and four Provincial Assemblies and demanded voting rights to elect their parliamentarians. The Christian Leadership Conference hosts Catholic Church of Pakistan and Implementation of Minorities Right Forum in press release signed by Archbishop of Catholic Church Lahore Dioceses Sebastian Shaw and Mr. Samuel Piara who is Chairman of Implementation of Minorities Rights Forum said that unity is way ahead to success. Mr. J Salik, former Federal Minister for Population government of Pakistan Presided The Leadership Conference while Ch. Tahir Naveed Advocate and former Member Punjab Assembly also participated in conference. Professor Anjum James Paul and Professor Robin Daud were among speakers whilr Latif Bhatti from Belgium and Pervez Masih from Canada were also among guests. The Christians, Hindus, Parsi, Sikhs and other religious communities in Pakistan were allocated 10 seats in National Assembly of Pakistan and in four provincial assemblies in constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan of 1973 under joint electorate by Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto in which Muslim political groups were selecting minorities’ parliamentarians which was strongly opposed by Christians. In 1985 national general elections, Separate Electorate was introduced on reserved seats for minorities on their outstanding demands which was practiced till 1998 elections. In 2000, some Church leaders along with Martyr Shahbaz Bhatti met with Dictator Pervez Musharraf and requested him to abolish Separate Electorate and implement Joint Electorate which snatched voting right from minorities to elect parliamentarians on reserved seats. Pakistan Christian Congress PCC opposed imposition of Joint Electorate by General Pervez Musharraf and PCC Chief Dr. Nazir S Bhatti raised voice against it on every forum. PCC also opposed 18th Amendment in constitution which inducted Joint Electorate system as part of constitution under which national general elections of 2013 were held. When amendments in constitution were challenged in Supreme Court of Pakistan by Muslim political parties then J Salik became party in it and prayed to repeal Joint Electorate and revive Separate Electorate that minorities may elect their leaders by their votes instead of selection by Muslim groups. The Christian Leadership adopted resolution demanding formation of Minorities Rights Commissions in four provinces and implementations of recommendations of Supreme Court of Pakistan rulings of 2014. The Conference also resolved to end hate speeches which damage harmony and interfaith activities.

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