Pakistani Christians need more 'Strong voices' in Parliament. By Cynthia Sohail
Democracy must be built on pluralism In Pakistan: With regards to Pakistan, the situation is much more outrageous. Islamic political parties likewise select and send minority individuals to assemblies, regardless of the way that these same parties aren’t prepared to grant them equal status of citizenship and fundamental rights.
Influenced by religious extremists, the state has remained unwilling to grant equal citizenship to Christian community, who were thrown out of the national mainstream through an apartheid mode of separate electorates that remained in force for more than 25 years over five general elections. It was after much political struggle democratic forces that joint electorates were reestablished, the status of equal citizenship — the basis of the right to vote — is still contested by religiously influenced political forces.
Some voices among Christian community are demanding the right to choose their own particular delegates. Given the current scenario, this demand is tricky and may once again open the ways to separate electorates and further reinforce retrogressive powers. This issue, therefore, needs an honest political solution.
Christian and other minorities in Pakistan have suffered all these decades and some essential measures are required. The representative of the People Act of 1976 and the rules under the Election Commission should be changed keeping in mind the end goal to bring religious minorities into the national standard.
Political parties that restrict membership on religious grounds must not be registered with the ECP and not be allowed to take part in the electoral process. It should be mandatory for registered political parties to allot tickets to Christian candidates to contest elections on a number of seats according to the ratio of their population.
Christian community in Pakistan needs more strong voices in the legislature, not the presence of some lackeys in the name of so-called representation. They require bold and stronger spokespersons. Pakistan cannot become a democratic society unless the wall between state and religion is maintained and society is pluralistic lines.