As elections draw nigh, Pakistani Christians look for political leader willing to solve their problems. In this regard, a seminar themed “Elections 2018 and rights of religious minorities”, was held in Karachi. Christians and other minorities’ members from all walks of life attended this seminar.
The seminar was attended by more than 80 including churchmen, Christian political activists, rights activists and others. On this occasion, Peter Jacob Director of “Social Justice Center” stated: “We must look for political leaders willing to take care of our rights, challenges, problems, the development of our community and work to provide protection and integral promotion of minorities”.
Further explaining, he went on saying, “Our Christian areas are not yet developed. The problems have been the same for decades. We should vote for candidates and political parties that really deal with minority rights issues”. At the same time, light was shed on the challenges Pakistani Christians face. Participants shared views on problems including religion based discrimination, violation of fundamental rights, misuse of blasphemy law, indifference from government, intolerance etc.
Another participant Riaz Nawab, talked about issues regarding the legislative assemblies: “The members selected to occupy the seats reserved for minorities in Parliament are not useful for the community, they do not visit the minority areas. They are chosen by political parties, they work only for them”.
The attendees demanded for greater and fair participation and representation of the representation of minorities in the electoral and government making process. Furthermore, the participants demanded the historic ruling of Supreme Court regarding the religious minorities in Pakistan should be implemented. On June 19, 2014, the apex court had directed the government to establish a Commission which will be assigned with the task to investigate and deal with issues related to religious minorities.
There was also discussion on the implementation of the Supreme Court ruling of 19 June 2014 on religious minorities and, among the proposals raised, it was asked to set up an autonomous National Commission to examine issues related to religious minorities.
The participants also discussed the matter of biased curriculum being taught in the schools and universities; hate content against minorities is inculcating religious intolerance among the students. The participants demanded for a review of the curriculum and the education policy in order to eradicate discrimination based on religion. The participants also called for implementation of 5%quota allocated for minorities in government jobs sector.