Pakistan Christian Congress demand Elections under Dual Vote on reserved parliament seats
LAHORE: January 11, 2013. (SHAMIM MASIH) Christianity in Asia has its roots in the very inception of Christianity, which originated with Christ Jesus,
and then spread through the missionary work of his apostles. Pakistani Christians are very much patriotic towards their country and they are treated as Pakistani in any other country same as any other Pakistani. They are serving in every field but yet they have to face lots 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 certain proportions of seats for minority persons, but whether that is effective or not is a moot point.
Talking in the press conference Mushtaq Gill, President Pakistan Christian Congress-PCC Lahore Chapter said, the present constitution, political system and government are undemocratic. No more Democracy. Theocracy is prevailing in Pakistan.
Under this system, the Christians of Pakistan have neither equal political, socio-economical status, nor the 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 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, he 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.