Minister urges increase in minorities’ seats through electoral reforms



  • MPA says members of assembly plans to approve Punjab Minorities Rights Commission Bill




Provincial Minister for Minorities and Human Rights Khalil Tahir Sindhu has said that the government plans to adopt coordinated strategy regarding increase in the seats for the minorities in the provincial assembly as well as welfare and solution of problems through Punjab Minorities Rights Commission Bill.

The minister stated this in an advocacy seminar organised by the National Minority Rights Network (NMRN) regarding the electoral reforms and Punjab Minorities Rights Commission Bill on Thursday.

American Consulate for human rights Robert Crimson, Members Parliament Shehzad Munshi, Kanji Ram, Dr Farzana, Saadia Sohail Rana, Joice Rophen Juiceless, Father Frances Gulzar and Pastor Shahid Meraj, religious leaders and representatives from different NGOs and civil society participated in the seminar.

Sindhu said that it has become pertinent to increase the special seats for minorities in the provincial assembly in accordance with the authentic facts and figures regarding minority population so that they could be provided better facilities and legislation.

MPAs Shehzad Munshi, Saadia Sohail Rana and the religious leaders from minorities stressed upon the need to increase special seats for minorities through electoral reforms as population has increased in last few decades.

NMRN Convener Sajid Christopher said that the seats for the parliamentarians were increased in Musharaf’s tenure last time for national and provincial assembly. However, no such increase has been made for the minorities’ parliamentarians since 1985. He said that due to less representation of minorities in both the provincial and national assembly the measures taken for the redressal of grievances of the minorities and their welfare have been insufficient.

MPA Shehzad Munshi, who has presented the bill for Minorities Rights Commission in Punjab Assembly, said that all the members of the assembly have agreed to approve the bill so as to make possible to provide equal rights to the minorities and enhance the opportunities of progress and prosperity for minorities in the province.

The MPA said that no representation from the minorities has been included in the committee formulated to consider different proposals for electoral reforms on the national level.

Shehzad Munshi stressed upon the need to pass the Punjab Minorities Rights Commission Bill as it has already been passed in Sindh and KPK.

Sindhu also highlighted the efforts of Punjab government to promote the rights of minorities such as the implementation of 5 percent quota of jobs in all the government departments in the province.