ASIA/PAKISTAN - Protecting the rights of religious minorities: a challenge for the future

Monday, 8 April 2019 human rights   religious minorities   peace   justice   politics  

Karachi (Agenzia Fides) - "Religious minorities must not marginalize themselves, but be an integral part of it: thus they will be able to see their fundamental rights protected": says to Agenzia Fides Kashif Anthony, coordinator of the Catholic Commission "Justice and Peace" (NCJP) of the archdiocese of Karachi. He adds: "We must promote a joint electoral system, not based on religious affiliation, so as to be citizens on a par with others: this is the solution and the way to achieve respect for our fundamental rights". In a seminar held in recent days in Karachi, organized by the Commission on "Rights of religious minorities and future perspectives", over 130 delegates of various faiths (Christians, Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs) shared their reflections in this regard.
Kashif Anthony remarked: "Currently every political party in Pakistan has a specific group dedicated to religious minorities: it is time to ask political parties to abolish these 'sections for minorities' and integrate non-Muslim citizens into parties", concludes Kashif Anthony.
Zahid Farooq, a Christian social worker and human rights activist in Karachi, notes: "The number of citizens of religious minorities living in Pakistan has increased, but we see that in the meantime there has been no increase in the number of seats reserved for the religious minorities in the National Assembly. There are only 10 reserved places".
Jaipal Chhabria, a Hindu human rights activist, states: "It is always sad to see that in the Constitution a non-Muslim cannot be a president or prime minister of Pakistan or head of any of the armed forces".
On the other hand, Naveed Bhatti, a Christian and a member of the Pakistani People's Party (PPP), speaking to Fides, stressed the urgency of "encouraging our young men and women to apply for jobs reserved for them in the government administration, which are 5% share".
Rasha Tariq, a Muslim member of the Pakistan Political Party, Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI), Prime Minister Imran Khan's party, speaking to Fides, concludes: "We are close to religious minorities in Pakistan and we are working to assure their rights and the essential protection, for a truly democratic Pakistan that respects human rights and dignity". (AG) (Agenzia Fides, 8/4/2019)