LAHORE: The representatives of minority communities have sought an increase in the number of seats reserved for the non-Muslim lawmakers as well as amendments in the electoral laws for better representation in the national mainstream.
The Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) has presented a bill in the National Assembly that asks for an increase in the number of minority seats in National and provincial assemblies, said MNA Aamir Naveed Jeeva.
According to the lawmaker, there was no increase in the number of seats reserved for minorities even though the number of general and women seats was increased twice the past. The seats reserved for women have been increased from 10 to 60, but there was no increase in the seats allocated to minority communities, he added.
Shireen Aslam, a human rights activist and member of South Asia Women Alliance (SAWA,) said women from minority communities must also be given 5 per cent quota in seats reserved for women.
According to Aslam, there are 42 constituencies where the minority population is 10-50 per cent. In these constituencies, the election commission must bound political parties to field representatives of minorities so that they may come into the mainstream.
Samson Salamat, director Centre for Human Rights Education, said that the current system of proportional representation of minorities in the parliament is completely undemocratic.
It is time for minorities to boycott the current system and demand for effective representation where they can exercise their right to elect their own representatives, he added. He said the government must increase the seats for minorities, and constituencies may be established division wise for minority seats with direct elections.
Riaz Anjum, chairman Pakistan Christian Movement, demanded direct election so that the minorities communities can choose their political leaders for effective representation.