ISLAMABAD: A chief imperfection in the electoral system of Pakistan is that minority’s and women’s seats are renounced into the hands of political parties. These reserved seats will be filled when the parties send in their priority lists to the Election Commission of Pakistan.
The occupancy of the seats reserved for non-Muslims in the National Assembly and Provincial assemblies has emerged as an open exercise by the major league of the political parties whereas, Christians linger as a small-time priority in the national assembly list that was submitted. Quite a few candidates from different parties were spotted arguing about the “priority lists” put forward by their parties.
Before the 2013 elections, all political parties that were hopeful of winning seats in the elections had proposed their lists of candidates for reserved seats for minorities to the Election Commission of Pakistan.
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) submitted an illustrious list of 22 candidates for 10 reserved seats. Pakistan Peoples Party Parliamentarians – PPPP submitted 12 names, even as, PML-Q and MQM have nominated five candidates each. Jamat-e-Islami also submitted a resolute list of 10 candidates while PML-N list comprised of eight names.
However, these lists suggested by the mainstream political parties has discouraged the Christian community; as no Christian candidate found place in the priority rank of any political party. Every political party principally has given precedence to the Hindu candidates. While, there were two Christian’s representatives out of 10 seats reserved for the minorities in the previous term.
Pakistan’s United Christian Movement – PUCM head Mr. Albert David, has expressed deep distress concerning top priority given to the Hindu minority, while the Christian candidates being deprived of their constitutional privilege. The PUCM premier, while expressing his apprehension said that “we have become a minority among the minorities”. It is time for the Christian community n Pakistan to unify in order get them selves accepted as a political force of the country.
While considering the reserved seats, for minorities in the provincial assemblies, political parties have documented analogous lists to the Provincial Election Commissioners. These seats in turn, are assigned to the political parties on the basis of the number of general seats they win in the elections.
However, there is no hindrance for non-Muslims to compete in elections on General or directly elected seats, nevertheless very few go for for this option. Notwithstanding, Pakistan United Christian Movement – PUCM and Christian Progressive Movement – CPM rocketed their candidates for the polls, this time. Albert David, Chairman PUCM, earlier than naming candidates for 2 National and 3 Provincial assembly seats said, “no matter we win or lose, PUCM will contest to highlight the issue of electoral rights of Non-Muslim Pakistanis”. While expressing the present selection system as a barefaced violation of Article 224 of the Constitution of Pakistan. In his post election message, Mr. Albert congratulated all 84 Non-Muslim Candidates, who competed for the general seats and applauded their courage for participating in the polls in the face of harsh conditions while taking a stand for their political rights.