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ICC Note:

Earlier this week, Christians in Pakistan demonstrated against the current political system that they claim leaves them unrepresented in the country’s government. As past of Pakistan’s political structure, a set number of seats are put aside specifically for religious minorities. Christians claim these seats do not represent their community because the representatives that fill those seats are selected by the ruling political party, not elected by the community they are there to represent. Instead, Christians are demanding that they directly elect their representatives, something Pakistan has been unwilling to allow. 

12/09/2017 Pakistan (Pakistan Today) – Members of the minority communities including Christians, Hindus, Sikhs, Ahmadis and others on Thursday demanded the government and political parties that they want elections, not selections.

They regretted that Pakistan still refuses to integrate minorities in its politics despite the passage of 70 years.  They said that members of minorities had rendered sacrifices during the Pakistan Movement but they are still deprived of their fundamental rights and are facing discriminatory laws.

Addressing a press conference at Lahore Press Club, members of Minorities Coverage Foundation including Emanuel Gulzar, Pastor Chaman, Sardar Mohn Singh, Lal Bhagat Khokhar, Tariq Masih Mughal, Rizwan Masih Khokhar, Dr Amjad, Donald Joseph and others demanded that non-Muslims should be awarded the dual franchise.

They lamented that under the current system, seats reserved for minorities become a tool for victorious parties to pick ‘yes-men’ who are not their true representatives. The current system also does not allow minorities to contest for the right to represent minorities, they said.

“There is a no link between those who occupy those seats in the National Assembly and provincial assemblies and those who are active members of the community and have real roots among the minorities in the country,” said Emanuel Gulzar.

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