PCC demanded reforms in electoral system


Shamim Masih bottom left - Pakistan Christian Congress PCC Punjab Youth Conference Lahore

Shamim Masih bottom left – Pakistan Christian Congress PCC Punjab Youth Conference Lahore

 

 

Intro to ‘PCC demanded reforms in electoral system’

Editor: John R. Houk

By Shamim Masih

 

Shamim Masih writes about electoral and political representation for Pakistan’s minorities. At a recent Youth Conference under the auspices of the Pakistan Christian Congress the youth were told about the unfair representation and rallied them to support political reform.

 

Be sure to read Shamim’s news report on the PCC Youth Conference below. So that you get a picture of the unfair – and really unjust – electoral representation perpetrated against Pakistani minorities here is an excerpt from Persecution.org on how politics operate in Pakistan:

 

Religious Minorities Held Out of Pakistan’s Government by Corrupt Election Process

 

ICC Note:

 

Christians and other religious minority groups continue to be held out of Pakistan’s government by its complicated and corrupt election process. Minorities do not have the right to directly elect members of their communities to seats in Pakistan’s government that are specifically reserved for members of that community. Instead, these seats are filled by the controlling political parties who often sell the seats to the highest bidder. Unfortunately, this has meant that the seats reserved for Christians are often held by individuals who do not have the minority community’s best interest at heart. This has allowed official forms of persecution in Pakistan, like the country’s controversial blasphemy law, to continue to exist and be abused against Christians. Please pray that someday, Christians will be able to elect their own representatives to the Pakistani government.

 

12/16/2013 Pakistan (Daily Times [Blog Editor: This reference link is no longer operable.]) – Despite thunders and lighting by successive governments, there was no downpour for the religious minorities in Pakistan. They are not yet given the dual voting rights nor can they elect their own representatives.

 

According to the Constitution of Pakistan, only Muslim leaders of mainstream political parties can decide the fate of non-Muslim representatives in the assemblies, not the 2.78 million registered non-Muslim voters.

 

The assembly members on minority seats are “selected” after taking huge funds in the name of party funds, hence, only the well-off members billionaire enter the upper and lower houses, and not the ones who really intend to do something for their community.

 

Besides Hindus, the biggest religious minority community in the province, there are Christians (Roman Catholic and Protestants), Parsis, Sikhs, Ahmedis and even Bahais living in Sindh, but only the Hindus have representation in the provincial house.

 

According to the official data of the Election Commission of Pakistan, all the religious minorities constitute 2.78 million registered voters in Pakistan. Of them, 1.4 million are Hindus, followed by 1.24 million Christians, 115,966 Ahmedis, 5,934 Sikhs, 3,650 Parsis, 1,452 Buddhists and 809 Jews.

 

They all can contest elections on general seats, and can vote for Muslim candidates on general seats. But they cannot vote to their own minority candidates, which are supposed to represent them in the assemblies.

 

Though it was announced numerous times by the governments that religious minorities of Pakistan would be given right to dual vote, such right was not given in its letter and spirit. …

 

 

Their seats were converted into “reserved seats”-just like reserved seats for women. And the right to select who will represent minorities in the assembly was given to the political parties, not the minority voters.

 

 

… These seats are allocated to the parties in accordance with their priority list submitted to the Election Commission of Pakistan. This means, one portion of the democratic assemblies is comprised on people’s representatives (the Muslim assembly members) as they get elected by the direct voting, whereas others, the women and minorities, are not elected by people, but are selected by the Muslim leadership of the mainstream political parties. Hence, the element of corruption enters into the “selection” of minority members. Anyone who wants to ensure his or her entry into the assemblies, he pays huge amounts to party leaders to get into the “priority list’ for minorities.

 

This “selection” process in fact is harming the community members. The so-called representatives, rather than working for the welfare of their communities’ and/or making legislation, get busy in minting money. (Excerpted from Persecution.org which posted on 12/16/13 9:43am)

 

 

JRH 5/1/14

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PCC demanded reforms in electoral system

PCC youth conference

 

By Shamim Masih

Sent: 4/29/2014 2:38 PM

 

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Christian Congress, the oldest Christian political party re-organizing in Pakistan has demanded to bring reforms in the electoral system for minorities. Talking to the PCC Youth Conference, PCC chief said that government of Pakistan should take immediate corrective measures and should restore election system for minority candidates as well. Addressing the Youth Conference via video link, PCC chief Nazir S Bhatti demanded PML-N government to bring reforms in discriminatory laws including blasphemy law.

 

PCC chief organizer Farrukh H Saif said that we want the immediate increase in the minority seats. He said the present Christian parliamentarians are not our true representative rather they are official spokespersons. He said present electoral system for minorities is not democratic system. It adds bribery in a democratic system and opened doors for corruption in the country.

 

Parvez Iqbal, president PCC Holland Chapter, especially participated in the youth conference and encouraged [the] young [people] of the PCC struggling for their rights. The PCC youth welcomed the honorable guest and promised to work whole heartedly to achieve their goals.

 

Christian youth across the country has joined PCC and participated from different areas of the country. Other PCC youth leaders and representatives addressed the conference. 

   

PCC has been working for Christian rights and values since 1985 in the country and have been struggling against injustice, persecution and [Blasphemy] laws enforcement on the face of depressed and marginalized Christian community.    

____________________________

Edited by John R. Houk

Brackets indicate additions by the Editor 

 

© Shamim Masih

Special Correspondents

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Electoral Injustice- Minorities Waiting for Reformation


Albert David

 

Shamim Masih writes about the unjust representation of non-Muslims in Pakistan. Pakistan’s electoral system is set-up to favor the Islamic Supremacism of Sharia Law to the detriment of the political rights of Pakistani Non-Muslims and/or Pakistani Non-Sunni Muslims. The existence of this unjust political representation undoubtedly contributes to the Sunni Muslim majority to persecute Christians with impunity.

 

JRH 10/20/13

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Electoral Injustice- Minorities Waiting for Reformation

 

By Shamim Masih

Sent: 10/18/2013 2:34 PM

 

ISLAMABAD: Check out the biggest leftist hypocrisy in Pakistan, remarkably highlighted by Albert David Chairman Pakistan United Christian Movement [PUCM See Here].

  

In political terms the local governments are known as the nursery of politics where new entrants to politics get trained, gain experience and take bigger strides to play their role at the National level. However it appears that by introducing two different electoral systems for Non-Muslims in the upcoming local government elections they are being made victims of yet another political injustice.

 

All Four provinces have announced their own preferred local bodies systems and apparently it looks like they have opted for a joint electoral system where as non-Muslims will be given representation on reserved seats through indirect elections.

 

Let’s look at the Punjab Local Government Bill 2013.  The composition of a Union Council will include elected Chairman and Vice Chairman, five other directly elected members on the basis of adult franchise followed by three indirectly elected members, including one each representing the Non-Muslims, women and labor/peasants on reserved seats. The will be elected by the directly elected seven members. A similar prototype is to be followed for representation of Non-Muslims at the District Council and Urban local government levels.

 

Another concerning issue in the Bill that affects Non-Muslims is that only those Union Councils will have a Non-Muslim member where the number of registered Non-Muslim voters is 500 or more. This could lead into a situation where approx. 50% of Union Councils will have no Non-Muslim representation.

 

Though joint electoral system was introduced to bring Non-Muslims into the main stream of politics however we must admit that socially we are still in an evolution phase where it is acceptable to get the votes from Non-Muslims however voting for a Non-Muslim candidate will take years of political, social and cultural change or in other words development.

 

The electoral system imposed by dictator General Parvaiz Musharaf for Non-Muslims at the National and Provincial level is already keeping Non-Muslim politicians away from the race as the existing ones have the tools, contacts and resources to secure the confidence of their masters and secure access to the legislative institutions. It does not matter if they have any commitment or ever wish to access the masses they represent. These so called representatives never feel accountable to the ones they represent as they are not elected by them.

 

The proposed provincial LG electoral system is another step, the final nail in the coffin; politically the Non-Muslims are out, end of game, in Wimbledon term, game, set and match. Once again the same story will be repeated, people with resources and more importantly contacts with their masters will select their own people as the representatives at the grass root levels too. I see this as an attempt to make the Non-Muslims politically infertile.

        

However the interesting factor is that the elections in the 43 Cantonment Boards have been proposed on the “Separate” electorate system, where Non-Muslims voters will vote for Non-Muslim candidates as members/councilors. Isn’t this a political mockery, the provincial governments opting for a Joint electoral system and Federal Government (Cantonment Boards are governed by Federal Government) preferring a “Separate Electoral System”. But maintaining a Joint Electoral system at the national and provincial level.

 

The demand to elect their own representatives has been gaining momentum over the recent years and if the Provincial or Federal governments ever made an effort to explore the preferred electoral system, I am confident the majority of the minority (Non-Muslim Pakistanis) will opt for the separate electoral system. Separate elections is a popular demand among Non-Muslims however not sure if a priority for the law makers to look into this.

 

Whatever the conclusion may be Pakistan United Christian Movement rejects the proposed electoral system for the Non-Muslims in upcoming the local government elections and demands that Non-Muslim voters should be given the right to elect their own representatives by their own votes. I wish that the Federal Government goes ahead with the proposed separate electoral system for Cantonment boards

 

Be Blessed,

Shamim Masih

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© Shamim Masih

Edited by John R. Houk

 

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