Pakistani Christians are denied representation in the Senate: Nasir Saeed
London: March 3, 2009. Mr. Nasir Saeed, Coordinator of CLAAS UK issued her statement on elections of Senate of Pakistan. He said that few weeks ago the Chief Election Commissioner of Pakistan the Right Honorable Justice Qazi Muhammad Farooq announced the schedule of the elections for the Upper House of the legislative body of Pakistan, the Senate.
The Pakistani Senate is composed of a total of a hundred members and 50 of these members retired on the 11th of March 2009. The election of new members was held on the 4th of March but unfortunately no Christians or representatives of other religious minorities have applied for any of these seats.
The main reason for the lack of Christian applicants for any seats in the Senate is that none of the Christian politicians has been given a ticket from their parties. This means that Christians and the representatives of other religious minorities will not have a voice in the Upper House of the legislative body of Pakistan until 2012.
The government of Pakistan maintains that this is not the right time to bring religious minorities into the Senate or for making deals between political parties.
At present there are a few Christian MPs in the provincial and national assemblies but because all of them have received their seats through the proportionate representation system they are bound to the policies and agendas of their parties. Often they do not dare to go against the party’s decisions.
Many Christians, church leaders and representatives of human rights groups and other charities are disappointed with this situation. They feel isolated and unhappy that despite all the talk about democracy the heart of the oppressive and one sided political system in Pakistan remains unchanged.
However, when representatives of the Pakistani government are questioned about the place of religious minorities in government by the international media they always issue statements that Christians are enjoying equal rights in a democratic Pakistan. Unfortunately, such statements are far from the truth as the recent Senate elections have shown.
Yet, whatever the future might hold I am sure of one thing that CLAAS in the UK and Pakistan will continue to campaign against the marginalisation of Christians and support the suffering and persecuted
"Trial of Pakistani Christian Nation" By Nazir S Bhatti