Tahir Khalil sindhu – the only Minister in Punjab province, resigned from his portfolio as provincial minister for health after Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif severely reprimanded him for inefficiency. And Pakistan Times reported “Incompetent” Sindhu gets the boots. A Health Ministry’s spokesperson said the chief minister confronted Sindhu over his inability to implement precautionary measures. Rather than seeking another opportunity, the health minister submitted his resignation and has since been terminated from the position. Sindhu resigned after Chief Minister Shahbaz severely scolded him. He is remained the minister for minorities and human rights. Let’s see how the former health minister will deliver in this capacity.
It is general perception among Pakistani Christians that Pakistan Muslim league (N) is against Christian in the area reason behind that the sectarian violence like Gujra and Joseph Colony mount up in the Punjab province during their regime and no one is being punished for their doings. But people like Sindhu have been working for them and finally received shut up call. Let’s see when his older brother PM Nawaz Sharif will do the same with another puppet sitting as a federal minister for port and shipping. With a Muslim dominated country Pakistan, I am an ordinary person standing up for humanity and human rights. My purpose is to protect individuals wherever justice, fairness, freedom and truth are denied.
The existing ill-ectoral (electoral) system for Non-Muslim has peripheral the non-Muslims in the country. The Parliament of Pakistan consists of the President and two houses to be known respectively as National Assembly - NA and the Senate. The NA consists of 342 seats including 60 seats reserved for women and 10 seats reserved for Non- Muslims. The members of the NA are elected for a term of 5 years. Members of the NA and Provisional Assembly - PA are elected by direct voting in a constituency on first past the post system through a secret ballot. A candidate, who obtains the highest number of votes in a constituency, is declared elected as member of NA or a PA.
On the other hand, members to the seats reserved for women and non-Muslims, are elected in accordance with law through proportional representation system of political party’s lists of candidate on the basis of total number of general seats secured by each political party in the NA or PA. Thus big Muslim parties are authorized to select the people of their own choice although they are not public choice. Tahir Khalil Sindhu, a Christian provisional minister was one of them.
From 1947 to 1973, the country has a unicameral system of legislature. Under the 1973 constitution, Pakistan adopted bicameral system at the centre, called “The Parliament”, composing the President, the National Assembly and the Senate. Originally, the general seats of the NA were 200 with additional 10 seats reserved for women, bringing the total strength to 210. The newly created Upper House i-e the Senate had 63 members. Later in 1985 through a Presidential order (P O No. 14 of 1985), seven seats were added to the general seats and ten to the reserved seats for women in the NA. Ten seats were exclusively reserved for minorities to be filled through separate electorate system. Thus the total strength of the lower house reached to 237 members. Similarly the strength of Senate was also increased from 63 to 87.
Under the 1973 constitution the NA is elected for five years term, unless sooner dissolved. The seats in NA, unlike the Senate, are allocated to each province and other units of the federation, on the basis of population. The constitutional provision of 20 special seats for women lapsed in 1990, thus decreased the Assembly strength from 237 to 217. Under the constitution, elections to the 10 seats reserved for minority were held on separated electorate basis. Then selection system under joint electorate imposed by General Parvez Musharaf in 2002, election had reduced representation of Christian in Pakistan. In 1970, Christians had 6 seats in NA, in 1985 dictator Zia Haq distributed 10 reserve seats as 4 for Christians, 4 for Hindus, 1 for Ahmadi and 1 for Parsi, Sikh and other religious minorities. But during last tenure, distribution of 10 reserved seats was as under Hindu 7, Christians 3 in 2008, and in 2013 Hindus 7, Christians 2 and Parsi 1.
It was during the fag end of the PPP regime when a bill was tabled to increase the number of seats for minority communities in the NA to enhance their representation in the House from the exiting 10 to 14 seats on proportionate basis. The mover of the bill gave the reason behind increasing the number of reserved seats in the NA was that the existing number of seats, 10 was not in proportion with the total number of seats in the Parliament House. It was demanded in the bill that number of the seats reserved for minority communities in the NA should be raised to 14, corresponding with the existing number of seats in the House on proportionate basis. Eventually, the NA completed its tenure, leaving the bill pending. “Since the number of seats in the House was increased, as such it was very pertinent that the number of seats for the minority communities should also have been increased proportionately,” said Tahir Naveed Chaudhry, ex-member provisional assembly.
Though joint electoral system was introduced to bring non-Muslims into the main stream of politics however we must admit that we are still in evolution phase where Muslim voters will take years to vote for Non-Muslims candidates.
Separate elections or duel vote is a popular demand Non-Muslims however not sure if a priority for the law makers to look into this. According to the report, many within the community are calling for an end to a party-list system where the 10 seats are distributed according to the percentage distribution of the parties in the National Assembly at large. Instead, they want to see a double vote: “Non-Muslims should be awarded dual franchise. They should be given two ballot papers. They should cast one to a general seat candidate and the second to a member of their own community,” says the report. I cover parliament house for my local paper and eye witness to it that none of these 3 Christian parliamentarians has spoken a single word for minority rights. They are simply working for their “bosses” not for the community and it must be discouraged.