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Oct-10-2012 13:37printcomments

How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity - Pslam 133:1

Dual Voting Right is an electoral system through which religious minorities can elect their representatives in Parliament, similar to separate electorates, while simultaneously voting for general seat candidates.

Shamim Masih is on the far right.
Shamim Masih is on the far right.

(ISLAMABAD, Pakistan) - It is the misfortune of Pakistani Christians that they have been facing crises of Christian political leadership since partition. A strong and visionary political leadership is the solution of Christian persecution.

Mr. Julius Salik came forward as revolutionary leader and Shaheed Shahbaz Bhatti rose as a visionary political figure in Pakistani Christians leadership.

The discourse on the method of minority representation in parliament has hovered around joint electorate system verses separate electorate for decades.

Pakistan Christian Post (PCP), in a recent memorandum to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), has demanded minority representation in parliament on the basis of dual voting rights after members from the Christian and Hindu community expressed serious reservations on the joint electorate system, introduced by former President Parvaiz Musharaf in 2000.

Dual Voting Right is an electoral system through which religious minorities can elect their representatives in Parliament, similar to separate electorates, while simultaneously voting for general seat candidates.

Highlighting the joint electorate system as one based on patronage, the PCP 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”.

In recent PCP polls 59% minorities favored dual voting, 27% favored joint electorates while 14% voted for separate electorates.

Few days back, when one of my colleagues Imtiaz Chughtai introduced me Javaid Akhter Bhatti. On his invitation we went to All Pakistan Muslim League (APML) office in Islamabad, on reaching there we saw that Javiad Bhatti was introducing his delegation to Ahmad Raza Kasuri, who is in co-leadership in APML. Sitting at the same juncture will Javaid Bhatti be able to deliver something to community?

According to Javed Bhatti, he is in political era since 1999 and now appointed as President Federal Capital (Minority wings).

I raised a question that when poverty, illiteracy, unemployment, and lack of quality education, are challenges for Pakistani Christians, but our politicians have failed to address these issues. What do you think; will you be able to deliver? He said, we are here to discuss challenges faced by Pakistani Christians and solution to secure religious freedom.

“I am struggling with my leadership to find these answers and Mr. Masharaf has ensured me in our recent meeting in Dubai that he will do his level best to ensure the minority issues, Bhatti added.”

"It is not a question that APML, PPP, PML (N), PML (Q), JUI or PTI promised to deliver something; I think there is a need to have strong, major, organized and visionary political party in Christians for the solution of all these problems. Such a party should not be an ordinary party, but must work like a state.

I think the time has come that instead of wasting our resources, we all should sit together for the sake of Christianity, leaving behind our personal interest, because sitting in their shell; we can’t enjoy Christian’s rights.

"There should be some institutions or departments under the flag of a [Christian] party. There should be department of international affairs for lobbying for the interests of Christians and for gaining the sympathy of the international community."

"There was time when a number of people and sources were considered strong element for nations, but now the time has changed. Now it is war of brains and the quality of persons.

So I humbly request to all Christian leadership, to raise our hand together and sit under His umbrella, although we are less in numbers, even then we can become a strong nation.

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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