Minorities demand 3pc seats in National Assembly<br>By Our Staff Reporter
21 Jan 2002
ISLAMABAD, Feb 18: The minorities have demanded three per cent reserved seats in proportionate to their population in the National Assembly.
Talking to a group of journalists here on Monday, the founder President of all Pakistan Buddhist Society and former minorities minister, Raja Tridev Roy, said a minorities commission, headed by a judge of the Supreme Court, should be constituted.
The commission should study, examine and investigate the state of minorities and make recommendations to the government for addressing the issues confronting them, he said.
Mr Roy said the commission should be empowered like the Ombudsman and be able to take action on violations against the minorities.
Replying to a question, if the National Reconstruction Bureau (NRB) consulted the minority leaders while making recommendations for the minorities, he said, "I am not aware of any minority leader who have been consulted by the NRB."
Welcoming the decision of the joint electorate, he said it was a longstanding demand but the government should ensure adequate representation of minorities in the legislature by reserving atleast the minimum number of seats as provided in the 1973 Constitution.
If the government fails to reserve seats, it is feared that not even five minority representatives would be present in a parliament of 350 seats, he said.
The minority leader said the government should take affirmative action to bring the marginalized sections of the society at par with others.
The former minister also said the delimitation of constituencies should take the minority population concentrations into consideration. Inadequate representation of minorities in services, trade, business and politics is creating a sense of deprivation and discrimination among the minorities, he added.