Religious minorities voice exasperation over Punjab’s Local Government System terming it totally undemocratic and anti-minorities. In a joint press conference, Rwadari Tehreek, civil society, social, political and religious leadership of the minority communities expressed serious concerns in this regard.
The Press Conference was held at Lahore Press Club on October 24, 2016. While addressing the Press Conference, Samson Salamat, (Chairman Rwadari Tehreek), Tariq Siraj Advocate (Chairman MMP), Samuel Pyara (President Bright Future Society), Tahir Naveed Chaudhary (Chairman, Pakistan Minorities Alliance), Rev. Emanuel S. Khokhar (Pastor Church of Pakistan), Jami Chandio (Scholar, and Political Analyst ) Farooq Tariq (Spokesperson AWP), Abdullah Malik (President Civil Society Network), and Sajid Christopher (President of Human Friends Organization) expressed deep reservations over the local government system in Punjab.
Chairman Rwadari Tehreek Samson Salamat while addressing the Press Conference said: “We understand and strongly believe the importance of local government system for a successful democratic System, but by all means it should be according to the democratic norms and values and should be inclusive for the marginalized sections of the society.
However it is very unfortunate and disturbing that the Punjab Local Government System has not been designed according to the spirit of the Constitution of Pakistan and the democratic norms and values because practically it gives more power to the powerful and weakens the already weak marginalized communities of our society, especially the religious minorities who are already discriminated on the basis of religion in many ways.”
Samuel Pyara said: “This is very unfortunate, that under the Local Government System, in each union council, and other tiers of the local government system, so-called representatives of the minorities will be selected who will become the mouth piece of the political parties, rather than of their own communities.”
Tahir Naveed Chaudhary of Pakistan Minorities Alliance said: “Politics of exclusion have added to the marginalization of the minority communities, and the Punjab’s Local Government System is the perfect example, and therefore the Government of Punjab is being urged to address the grievances of the religious minorities with regard to their political participation and representation.”