New Leadership and the dire need of Christian Community. By Cynthia Sohail
Pakistan is a democratic country and the democracy assures the human rights for all the citizens regardless of their colour, caste or creed. The democracy also guarantees equal opportunities for all the inhabitants of a democratic country in all the spheres of life. But, unfortunately, despite all the claims of every ruling party of our country regarding distribution of equal rights to every citizen religious minorities are so far deprived of many basic rights.
Unfortunately, the parliament in Pakistan is always influenced by religious groups; the state has remained unwilling to grant equal citizenship to Christian community. It was after much political struggle democratic forces that joint electorates were re-established, the status of equal citizenship â€” the basis of the right to vote â€” 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 to be taken. 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 strong voices in the legislature instead of voiceless yes-men or dummies in the name of democracy. The religious minorities in Pakistan require real bold and strong spokespersons that bring change keeping in mind the end goal to bring religious minorities into the national standard. Pakistan cannot become a democratic society unless the difference between state and religion is maintained and society is established on the basis of pluralism.
Regretfully in our country Christian leaders currently selected by different political parties unable to do needful for their community. Sometimes when they really intends to do something for their community the pressure groups including some political and religious groups restrict them and build up unbreakable hurdles to make them silent and helpless. In many cases due to lack of unity and jealousy among the Christian leaders who to some extent have a bit of power in their hands refuse to help the deserving Christians saying that â€śwe are not elected by your votes but selected by our party leadersâ€ť. They prefer to work for the sake of their party instead of resolving the problems of the Christian community. They also have a fear of losing their place in the party. The existing Christian leaders likewise the leaders of majority donâ€™t want educated, motivated and talented Christian youth to come into the politics because they also afraid of the new and energetic Christian leadership.
The dire need of the Christian community of Pakistan is to have influential and strong young politicians sit in the legislative assemblies and senate. So the upcoming ruling party/parties must select new and young Christian politician who are determined and serious about their own community development not for their own families development. How can one build a new home using the old bricks? The leadership of all the political parties must keep in mind the role of Christian community in building and development of Pakistan. The Christian community have played and playing a vital role in the fields of education and health. The Christian educational institutions including F. C. College, Murray College, Convent Schools and many other are still serving the nation with dedicated national spirit regardless and sort of discrimination.
It is requested to all the politicians and Election Commission of Pakistan to give opportunity to new Christian leaders to serve not only their own community but to serve the national cause at a broader level. All religious minorities demand for a dual vote system.They want to elect their representatives with their own votes. It will prove that Pakistan is a real democratic state and there is a freedom of expression and opinion that no one can take away.Moreover, the right to choose â€śownâ€ť leaders by the religious minorities is according to the international charter of democracy which guarantees the fulfilment of their basic rights.