KARACHI, July 5: Speakers at a conference, on Friday, demanded that seats reserved for minority communities in the Parliament under the 1973 Constitution be restored so that the new Parliament represented a cross-section of people and presented a nat
Speaking at the Minority Leaders Conference, organized by the Movement for Minority Representation in Parliament at Darul Khushnud, they said that they supported the joint electorate system that had been recently reintroduced, as the minority communities had been brought back in the political mainstream.
They said that the government, after reintroducing the joint electorate system, has not restored the seats reserved for minorities under the 1973 Constitution.
They demanded that these reserved seats be restored and their number be increased keeping in view the increase in population and since the number of other seats in the Parliament have also been increased. They also said that the minority representatives be elected iin the way the members of the Senate are elected or some other procedure be followed for their election.
They said that if the reserved seats were not restored - keeping in view the present status of the masses and intolerance prevailing in society - no member of a minority community could make it to the Parliament.
They said that the minority seats be reserved on the same pattern on which seats have been reserved for women, technocrats, etc, so that the of the minority communities could protect the interests of their communities in Parliament.
They also demanded that reserved seats for the scheduled castes be separated according to their population from that of reserved seats for Hindus, so that real representatives of the scheduled castes people were elected to Parliament and solved the issues being faced by their communities. It would be fulfilling the promise of the Quaid-i-Azam that he made to these communities at the time of Partition. They pointed out that the Quaid-i-Azam had included a member of the scheduled caste, Jogender Nath Mandel, in the first cabinet.
They also urged the political parties and civil society organizations to support them on the issue and help them get the reserved seats restored in Parliament.
They said that if the minority seats were not reserved, the Parliament would look like a Muslim Parliament and would not present a national look where all the communities were represented. They demanded that all discriminatory laws be abolished.
They also demanded the immediate arrest of the murderers of Edvan Moon, the secretary of the Church of Pakistan. They also condemned the killing of minority communities in India.
Former minority members of the Sindh Assembly, Saleem Khursheed Khokhar, Michael Javed, Bherulal Balani, Engineer Gianchand, Malik Atta Mohammad, secretary general of MMRP, Surender Vilasai; Iqbal Khurram and others also spoke.
Later, the participants of the conference took out a procession and after
marching through various city roads, came to the Press Club holding banners and raising slogans in support of their demands.