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Jan-10-2013 22:09printcomments

Joint Electorate System Empowers Muslim Political Parties: PCC Pakistani Chief

Christians are second class citizens under Pakistan's present political system. They're constantly reminded that it is not their country.

In picture:  Mushtaq Gill Advocate (center) President Pakistan Christian Congress PCC Lahore and other PCC leaders’ in a press conference in Lahore Press Club
In picture: Mushtaq Gill Advocate (center) President Pakistan Christian Congress PCC Lahore and other PCC leaders’ in a press conference in Lahore Press Club

(LAHORE, Pakistan) - Christianity is Asia has its roots in the very inception of the religion, which originated with Christ Jesus, and then spread through the missionary work of his apostles. Pakistani Christians are very patriotic towards their country and they are treated as Pakistani in any other country, the same as any other Pakistani. They are serving in every field but yet are still faced with a lot of problems.

Under severe Islamic Religious domination, the miseries of the Pakistani Christians are enormous and visible everywhere and at every level. Christians face severe difficulties politically as well. Pakistan has tried to address this by reserving a certain proportion of seats for minority persons, but whether that is effective or not is a moot point.

At their press conference, Mushtaq Gill, President of the Pakistan Christian Congress (PCC), Lahore Chapter, said the present constitution, political system and government are undemocratic. No more is there Democracy. Theocracy is prevailing in Pakistan.

Under this system, the Christians of Pakistan have neither equal political, socio-economical status, nor equal access to available opportunities in playing a leading role in the national set-up.

Though Christians believe and consider themselves to be first class citizens of Pakistan, the present political system believes the Christians are second class citizens and are practically at the lowest level. They are constantly reminded at every level that it is not their country.

Constitutionally, no Christian has the entitlement to become President, Prime Minister, Chairman of the Senate, or the Speaker of National Assembly (Parliament) of Pakistan. Under the constitutional bindings, the policies and practices have been adopted by all government and judicial functionaries to ignore and neglect the Christians every time, everywhere at all levels. People at lower level have adopted this as a law that no higher position or rank is given to any Christian, Mushtaq Gill explained.

The discourse on the method of minority representation in parliament has hovered around joint electorate system verses separate electorate for decades. PCC in a recent memorandum to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), has demanded minority representation in parliament on the basis of dual voting rights. Dual voting rights is an electoral system through which religious minorities can elect their representatives in Parliament – similar to separate electorates – whilst simultaneously voting for general seat candidates.

Highlighting the joint electorate system as the one based on patronage, the PCC chief has said that the joint electorate system empowers Muslim political parties to distribute minority reserved seats in parliament in a ratio to their seats in assemblies through selection of their favored religious minority leaders, often after taking bribes in millions of rupees.

He urged the future Christian leaders to assess the needs of the community and challenge for appropriate electoral reform, working together across part divides to ensure the best possible solution for long suffering communities.

About Shamim Masih

"I am Christian rights activist and freelancer Pakistani journalist specializing in writing about Christians rights for the different papers in the world. My aim is to create a peaceful environment in the society and to help eliminate Christian persecution through my writing as I bring the plight of these brave people under the spotlight of the whole world."

Shamim Masih was born in Sheikhopura's village and raised in Gujranwala, a city in Pakistan's Punjab province. He earned his Bachelors Degree from the University of the Punjab, Lahore majoring in English, Economics and Statistics; he also received a Masters Degree in Business Administration.

As a freelance writer and author, Shamim has written for different papers in the world; his expertise is in writing articles highlighting different social issues. He has served as freelance chief reporter and column writer in “Minority Times” in Islamabad, and a number of Shamim's articles have been published in local papers as well.

You can write to Shamim at this address: shamimpakistan@gmail.com




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