Ahead of upcoming elections in the country, the National Commission for Justice and Peace (NCJP) has launched a campaign in order to encourage Pakistani Christians to cast their votes. This campaign titled, “Your vote is important” has been propelled in the perishes, Christian associations and organizations in order to create an awareness among country’s Christian citizens.
In line with the appeal: “Citizens participate directly in matters of the state through their vote; it is the responsibility of every citizen to cast their vote. Your vote is your future. Make everyone feel your presence through your vote, it is for your prosperity”.
National Commission for Justice and Peace explained that all the citizens over the age of 18 must obtain the national identity card so as to get enlisted as a registered voter. The Commission reiterated that the role Christian voters are going to play in the political scene is very important as Christians form second largest religious community in the country.
Director of the Commission, Father Saleh Diego, while endorsing for his campaign said: “To this end, after the census of 2017, it will be useful for our community to have all Christians enrolled in electoral registers. In light of the census and registered Christian voters, reserved seats for minorities should increase and political parties should nominate candidates of minority religious communities proportionally, based on the population. We need a change in legislation in this regard”.
At the same time, the Commission is demanding dual voting rights for minorities. Under current system, the religious minorities’ candidates are selected by the political parties. In this way, the religious minorities are not able to choose their representatives. “Political parties should abolish the ‘minority groups’ within them and include members of religious minorities as candidates in the general lists, especially in areas where Christian voters are a majority”, NCJP director said while remarking about the flaws in the political system.
Kashif Anthony Coordinator of National Commission for Justice and Peace told fides: “With a joint electoral system, the dignity of voters belonging to religious minorities could be restored. Every candidate on a list must be able to receive both the vote of the Muslim population and of people who profess the religion of minorities. The electoral system of this kind improves inter-religious relations and social harmony. The NCJP hopes that minority candidates will be on the lists next to everyone else”.