Lahore: Representatives of Church World Service Pakistan and Minority Rights Commission Pakistan called on Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Central Information Secretary, Shafqat Mahmood and former President Punjab Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, Ahsan Rasheed at the Central Media Cell today, 27th November 2012. Welcoming the delegation Shafqat Mahmood appreciated their resolve of strengthening ties with the minorities within the country. This was followed by a healthy and productive discussion about the challenges that faced minority representatives in Pakistan and PTI’s stance to bring about change with policies that will rebuild Pakistan.
Participants in the meeting stressed the need to ensure true representation of minorities after they identified inadequacies in the current electorate systems. Former MNA George Claimant specified that political parties need to abolish ‘minority wings’ and instead give non-Muslims more representation by giving them party tickets to contest for general seats. “The parties should include a reform package in their manifestos and end discriminatory laws,” Claimant said. M. Prakash, Chairman Minority Rights commission Pakistan added, “At present, minorities have reserved seats in the parliament which have been filed on the basis of proportional representation. Therefore, rather than being directly elected, minority legislatures were nominated by political parties. As a result they often sought to please their party leaders rather than serving their communities. Thus, minorities demand that the current electoral system should be replaced with the one where candidates could be directly elected by minority voters.” George Claimant added that either the system of reserved seats should be abolished, or the minorities should be given dual voting rights hence they could directly choose their legislatures. He also added that after 19916 no minority representative has joined the PPP and PML-N due to their discriminatory attitude.
Ahsan Rasheed in response to their contentions assured that PTI will ensure representation regardless of cast, creed and religion. Sahfqat Mahmood further added that PTI’s intra-party election has ensured that the right to contest election and hold party offices through a democratic process is open to all.