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

Daily Khabrian (PakBiz.com description) & Channel – 5

Human Rights Activist

 

Snapshot of Human Rights Activism from 2011

Christian Rights Activist
Freelance Journalist
 

Secretary General of Information

Pakistan Christian Congress

 

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Editor: For Americans especially, I have discovered the best way to donate to Shamim Masih is via Western Union sending to a Western Union agent in Islamabad.

 

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Victory without Unity is Impossible


x-mas funcation 5

Shamim Masih has been a fantastic writer on bringing a snapshot on the everyday life experiences of the Christian minority in Pakistan. That snapshot has typically not been a pretty picture. In this post contribution I actually considered to not post it on my American oriented blog. Honestly I was kind of left wondering what the completeness of this picture sent by Shamim. I am sure Shamim will correct me if I am incorrect. My sense is that the theme of this report is a demonstration of a lack of unity among minority writing journalists and Christian Rights activists. And if my understanding is correct then Shamim is calling for a dialogue that brings a better unity of purpose among the movers and shakers of the Christian minority to deal with the discrimination that exists perpetuated by the Muslim led government.

 

JRH 12/15/13

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Victory without Unity is Impossible

Move to unite muddled community

 

By Shamim Masih

Sent: 12/15/2013 2:54 AM

 

ISLAMABAD: Exactly where there exists oneness; there needs to be glory. If there is zero oneness; there isn’t any tranquility plus the vice versa. Therefore, I will steer any struggle for oneness, tranquility in addition to the legal in the Country. Union of Minority Journalists Islamabad (UMJI) search for glory will never be doable should the disunity in addition to rancor from the bash just isn’t swiftly solved. In line with Sohail Johnson, Chairman Sharing Lifetime Ministry, there’s a critical difficulty from the local in addition to countrywide stage in addition to among the agencies in the country. Therefore all of us organized this course, which is the initial associated with it is sort in the country captivated higher ranked journalists in Islamabad. Greater than 50 journalists compiled in order to enjoy Christmas celebrations in Islamabad in addition to Senator Parvaiz Rasheed (Federal Minister for Information & Broadcasting, Cultural Heritage) as main guest at the occasion, Sohail Johnson Chairman Sharing Life Ministry, President PFUJ Afzal Butt, Shehyar Khan, National Press Club Islamabad in addition Romina Khursheed Alam (MNA) had been visitors associated with respect. Contributors contain members in the city’s contemporary society in addition to mass media personals had been shown to enjoy the occasion.

 

The Christmas celebration with minority journalists was started with the recitation of Holy Bible and prayer in Pakistan National Council of Arts –PNCA Islamabad.

 

Conversing with the journalists Senator Parvaiz Rasheed stated [the] constitution in the state shield the actual rights in the country, there isn’t any elegance about the facets associated with faith. As a result govt. associated with Pakistan is convinced in addition to make it possible for many in order to claim their strict ceremony as outlined by their strict norms. He powerfully ruined the actual anti Point out components in addition to enquired the journalists in order to fight against these phones bring tranquility in the country. Government’s major make an effort to assist in many people with virtually no strict elegance, he added.

 

Sohail Johnson, Chairman Sharing Life Ministry stated that Christians are here to join arms along with govt. in progress in the state. He focused in which Christian believers in the country are usually fortifying the country. He told in which govt. to bring reforms in fixing the actual discriminatory laws in the country. Christian believers have got contributions inside their career fields associated with education in addition to health at the same time and will create their predisposition, he added. Tariq Chaman, President UMJI stated in his allowed target in which journalists may bring tranquility inside the contemporary society by means of their particular contribution. He demanded many small section journalists in order to endure simultaneously to bring oneness inside the contemporary society.

 

Conversing at the special occasion Shamim Masih, author in addition to human rights activist told the actual group to quiet in addition to motivated; because in order to him, whatever the actual judgment could possibly be glory will likely be for the UMJI. He asked for the actual members to pay attention to their do the job in addition to struggle for tranquility in the country. He stated in which whereby there exists oneness; there needs to be glory. If there is zero oneness; there isn’t any glory plus the tranquility in addition to the legal vice versa. Therefore, all of us can steer any struggle for tranquility, the legal in addition to oneness in the neighborhood.

 

Be Blessed,

Shamim Masih

______________________________

Edited by John R. Houk

Brackets indicate editorial changes

Links are added by Editor

 

© Shamim Masih

Special Correspondents

Daily Khabrian (PakBiz.com description) & Channel – 5

Human Rights Activist

 

Snapshot of Human Rights Activism from 2011

Christian Rights Activist
Freelance Journalist
 

Secretary General 

REAP

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Editor: For Americans especially, I have discovered the best way to donate to Shamim Masih is via Western Union sending to a Western Union agent in Islamabad.

 

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Haul Over the Coals – Incompetent Puppet Finally Gets the Boot


Tahir Khalil Sindhu 2

Shamim Masih writes that a corrupt Pakistani politician has been reprimanded for inefficiency and given the “boot”. Shamim then provides a little civics lesson on how the Pakistan government operates. Civics might seem mundane but it is a fascination look on how a modern Muslim nation attempts to govern on a secular basis and yet incorporates Islamic Supremacism (i.e. Sharia Law) as the focal point of the rule of law.

 

JRH 12/2/13

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Haul Over the Coals – Incompetent Puppet Finally Gets the Boot

 

By Shamim Masih

Sent: 11/28/2013 7:27 PM

 

ISLAMABAD: Tahir Khalil Sindhu – the only Minister in Punjab province, resigned from his portfolio as provincial minister for health after Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif severely reprimanded him for inefficiency. And the Pakistan Times reported “Incompetent” Sindhu gets the boot. A Health Ministry’s spokesperson said the chief minister confronted Sindhu over his inability to implement precautionary measures. Rather than seeking another opportunity, the health minister submitted his resignation and has since been terminated from the position. Sindhu resigned after Chief Minister Shahbaz severely scolded him. He has remained the minister for minorities and human rights. Let’s see how the former health minister will deliver in this capacity.

 

It is the general perception among Pakistani Christians that the Pakistan Muslim League (N) is against Christians in the area. And this is the reason behind the sectarian violence such as in Gujra and Joseph Colony which mounted up in the Punjab province during their regime and no one is being punished for their complicity. But people like Sindhu have been working for PML(N) and finally received their shut up call. Let’s see when his older brother PM Nawaz Sharif will do the same with another puppet sitting as a federal minister for port and shipping. With a Muslim dominated Pakistan, I am an ordinary person standing up for humanity and human rights. My purpose is to protect individuals wherever justice, fairness, freedom and truth are denied.

 

The existing electoral system for Non-Muslims has a peripheral substance in the country.  The Parliament of Pakistan consists of the President and two houses to be known respectively as National Assembly – NA and the Senate. The NA consists of 342 seats including 60 seats reserved for women and 10 seats reserved for Non- Muslims. The members of the NA are elected for a term of 5 years. Members of the NA and Provisional Assembly – PA are elected by direct voting in a constituency on first past the post system through a secret ballot. A candidate, who obtains the highest number of votes in a constituency, is declared elected as member of NA or a PA.

 

On the other hand, members to the seats reserved for women and non-Muslims, are elected in accordance with law through proportional representation system of a political party’s lists of candidates on the basis of the total number of general seats secured by each political party in the NA or PA. Thus big Muslim parties are authorized to select the people of their own choice although they are not a public choice. Tahir Khalil Sindhu, a Christian provisional minister was one of them.

  

From 1947 to 1973, the country had a unicameral system of legislature. Under the 1973 constitution, Pakistan adopted bicameral system at the centre, called “The Parliament”, composing the President, the National Assembly and the Senate. Originally, the general seats of the NA were 200 with an additional 10 seats reserved for women, bringing the total strength to 210. The newly created Upper House, i.e. the Senate had 63 members. Later in 1985 through a Presidential order (P O No. 14 of 1985), seven seats were added to the general seats and ten to the reserved seats for women in the NA. Ten seats were exclusively reserved for minorities to be filled through separate electorate system. Thus the total strength of the lower house reached to 237 members. Similarly the strength of Senate was also increased from 63 to 87.

 

Under the 1973 constitution the NA is elected for five years term, unless sooner dissolved. The seats in NA, unlike the Senate, are allocated to each province and other units of the federation, on the basis of population. The constitutional provision of 20 special seats for women lapsed in 1990, thus decreased the Assembly strength from 237 to 217. Under the constitution, elections to the 10 seats reserved for the minority were held on separated electorate basis. Then the selection system under joint electorate imposed by General Parvez Musharaf in 2002, elections had a reduced representation of Christians in Pakistan. In 1970, Christians had 6 seats in NA, in 1985 dictator Zia Haq distributed 10 reserve seats as 4 for Christians, 4 for Hindus, 1 for Ahmadi and 1 for Parsi, Sikh and other religious minorities. But during the last tenure, distribution of 10 reserved seats was as under Hindu 7, Christians 3 in 2008, and in 2013 Hindus 7, Christians 2 and Parsi 1.

 

It was during the fag end of the PPP regime when a bill was tabled to increase the number of seats for minority communities in the NA to enhance their representation in the House from the exiting 10 to 14 seats on proportionate basis. The mover of the bill gave the reason behind increasing the number of reserved seats in the NA was that the existing number of seats, 10 was not in proportion with the total number of seats in the Parliament House. It was demanded in the bill that number of the seats reserved for the minority communities in the NA should be raised to 14, corresponding with the existing number of seats in the House on proportionate basis. Eventually, the NA completed its tenure, leaving the bill pending. “Since the number of seats in the House was increased, as such it was very pertinent that the number of seats for the minority communities should also have been increased proportionately,” said Tahir Naveed Chaudhry, ex-member provisional assembly.

 

Though a joint electoral system was introduced to bring non-Muslims into the main stream of politics, we must admit that we are still in an evolution phase where Muslim voters will take years to vote for Non-Muslims candidates.

 

Separate elections or duel voting is a popular demand of Non-Muslims; however there is lack of certainty if the popular demand is a priority for the law makers to look into this [as an election system]. According to the report, many within the community are calling for an end to a party-list system where the 10 seats are distributed according to the percentage distribution of the parties in the National Assembly at large. Instead, they want to see a double vote: “Non-Muslims should be awarded dual franchise. They should be given two ballot papers. They should cast one to a general seat candidate and the second to a member of their own community,” says the report. I cover the parliament house for my local paper and I am an eye witness to it that none of these 3 Christian parliamentarians has spoken a single word for minority rights. They are simply working for their “bosses” not for the community and it must be discouraged.

 

Be Blessed,

Shamim Masih

_____________________________________

Edited by John R Houk. Brackets and links in Shamim article are added by editor hopefully adding clarity to the content for the American reader.

 

© Shamim Masih

Special Correspondents

Daily Khabrian (PakBiz.com description) & Channel – 5

Human Rights Activist

 

Snapshot of Human Rights Activism from 2011

Christian Rights Activist
Freelance Journalist
 

Secretary General 

REAP

Shamim Masih’s Donate/Support info:

 

Editor: For Americans especially, I have discovered the best way to donate to Shamim Masih is via Western Union sending to a Western Union agent in Islamabad.

 

FOR USD TRANSFER.
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Democratic State or Feudalism


pakistan-blasphemy-protest

 

Shamim Masih reports that Pakistan’s Prime Minister led an All Parties Conference (APC) initiated on September 9, 2013 to bring a sense of unity in Pakistan by sharing in a dialogue with other political parties on curbing Islamic terrorism. The problem Shamim had with the APC is that the word “All” was a falsehood. Perhaps Prime Minister Mohammad Nawaz Sharif concept of “All” meant all the Sunni Muslim political parties at the exclusion the political parties representative of minorities. Since Shamim is a Christian his disappointment centers on the lack of Christian minority political parties. Shamim compares the minority exclusion to good old fashioned feudalism as in medieval historical governance. Shamim also mentions that Sheikh Rashid Ahmed founder of the Awami Muslim League (AML). The AML’s manifesto (see last link) is still Islamic Supremacist in its principles; however the manifesto decries the discrimination and violence against minorities Pakistan. I suspect Sheikh Rashid Ahmed’s stand to bring more civil rights to Pakistani minorities is the chief reason Shamim mentions him.

 

JRH 9/22/13

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Democratic State or Feudalism

 

By Shamim Masih

Sent: 9/20/2013 4:41 PM

 

ISLAMABAD: All Parties Conference – APC was held in Prime Minister’s secretariat on Monday 9 September, 2013. Addressing the political leaders at the APC, PM Nawaz Sharif said that he considered dialogue as the priority option to curb terrorism in the country, the solution to address the terrorism issue is sorted out with consensus after thorough deliberations by the participants at APC. He said that it is need of the hour for all political forces in the country to shun politicking on issues of national importance such as terrorism and energy crisis, and join hands to address them unanimously. “We have to rise above politics on some issues and develop a nation consensus for the sake of this country,” said Prime Minister told the political leaders. “If we will continue to take decision with consensus, the people will have more trust on democracy.” Nawaz Sharif said the country’s history witnessed unprecedented smooth democratic transition as the new government took over and a president left the Presidency with honor and prestige.

 

Later, Director General ISI Lt. Gen. Zaheer ul Islam briefed the participants of the APC on security situation in the country.

 

It sounds good that the government is interested to take other political parties in confidence while taking decisions in national interest and wanted to join hands with other political forces in the country. In the said conference the government called up the party leadership of his own choice not all political parties’ leadership was invited there. Sheikh Rasheed, the outspoken party head of Awami Muslim League was ignored with few others as well. At the same time, no Christian political party head was invited to APC.

 

The government should take minorities leadership in confidence while legislation and addressing national issues. Pakistan Christian Congress, All Pakistan Minorities Alliances – APMA, political parties have been struggling for minorities rights for years. Pakistan United Christian Movement, Pakistan Minorities Alliance and few others emerging political parties are passionate to protect non-Muslims’ rights in Pakistan. From decades on no government has ever taken non-Muslims in confidence while addressing national issues or legislation. In the end it results to add in [the] sufferings of minorities, all discriminatory laws are witness to it. Shanti Nager, Gojra, Sangla Hill, Gujranwala and Joseph Colony [Youtube video of Joseph Colony Destruction], Lahore incidents are [the] result of these discriminatory laws. Hundred years old church in Mardan city was turned to ashes. And at the same time, Governor Salman Taseer’s and Shahbaz Bhatti’s assassination was [the] result of hate speech of the cleric.

 

Pakistan is considered a democratic country but I have not been able to understand its system, there are two electoral systems adopted at the same time in the country. General election system is democratic while selection of reserved seats of minorities and women seats is totally at big political party’s prudence as proportional system. So minority’s members go into the legislative assembly through back doors. It is also reported that they use different means in terms of money or whatever to get in, and the amount very obviously starts in millions.

 

It is unnatural that these minority members coming in the assembly by paying hi-bribe and [then] talk about minority’s issues. It is reported that one of the previous minority ministers said that I am not here through your votes; you don’t need to expect anything from me, when some Christian visitors asked to solve their issues.

 

[The] Electoral process in Pakistan needs to be revised. Democracy cannot flourish in a country where a feudal system exists because this system negates democratic system.

______________________

© Shamim Masih

Edited by John R. Houk

Brackets and links within Shamim’s article are added by the Editor hopefully adding clarity.

 

Shamim Masih

Snapshot of Human Rights Activism from 2011

Christian Rights Activist
Freelance Journalist 

Secretary General

REAP

Shamim Masih’s Donate/Support info:

 

FOR USD TRANSFER.
Intermediary Bank:                         MASHREQ BANK, NEW YORK
Intermediary Bank SWIFT BIC:         MSHQUS33
Beneficiary Bank:                         JS BANK LIMITED
Beneficiary Bank SWIFT BIC:                 JSBLPKKA
Bank A/c # at Intermediary bank:         70008227
Title Of a/c                                Shamim Masih
Beneficiary Account Number:                 405527

Top of Form

IBAN #                                        pk80jsbl9530000000405227

FOR GBP TRANSFER.
Intermediary Bank:                         MASHREQ BANK, LONDON
Intermediary Bank SWIFT BIC:         MSHQGB2L
Beneficiary Bank:                         JS BANK LIMITED
Beneficiary Bank SWIFT BIC:                 JSBLPKKA
Bank A/c # at Intermediary bank:         00010855
Title Of a/c                                Shamim Masih
Beneficiary Account Number:                 405527
IBAN #                                        pk80jsbl9530000000405227

FOR EURO TRANSFER.
Intermediary Bank:                         MASHREQ BANK, LONDON
Intermediary Bank SWIFT BIC:         MSHQGB2L
Beneficiary Bank:                         JS BANK LIMITED
Beneficiary Bank SWIFT BIC:                 JSBLPKKA
Bank A/c # at Intermediary bank:         10847
Title Of a/c                                Shamim Masih
Beneficiary Account Number:                 405527
IBAN #                                        pk80jsbl9530000000405227

The Two Jinnahs of Pakistan Independence


Muhammad Ali Jinnah 3

John R. Houk

© May 5, 2013

 

Shamim Masih and other Pakistani minorities perceive that Pakistan’s Founding Father Muhammad Ali Jinnah – a Muslim – as championing equal rights for Pakistan’s non-Muslim minority population. On the other hand Jinnah took significant violent steps in pre-independent India/Pakistan to get the British and the Hindu-Sikh leadership to agree to a partitioned India along roughly Hindu-Muslim lines. Jinnah’s call has many names but the predominant title is “Direct Action Day.” On this day the Muslim minority of the Indian Subcontinent initiated acts of butchery aimed at Hindus and Sikhs.

 

On this Direct Action Day the majority Hindus wised up rapidly and back-lashed against the Muslims with an equal action of atrocity. Jinnah’s call to take action that resulted in mutual slaughtering served his purpose. It was agreed upon to separate a Muslim swath from the Hindu-Sikh majority. In cases in which large communities of Hindus resided in the Muslim areas they would re-settled in Hindu India. Muslim communities that felt threatened by the Hindu majority were re-settled in the new Pakistan. Partition led to mutual atrocities with forced population transference.

 

I can see little effort from Jinnah on bringing the atrocities to an end from his side of the partition; however I have no doubt that Jinnah wanted a Pakistan nation that utilized equal rights more than Shariah Law for the remaining minorities. For one thing Jinnah was a member of the Shia minority of Islamic Pakistan. Shamim points out that minority rights was in Jinnah’s mindset from the speeches he made. However, Jinnah’s early death in the first years of the Pakistan government proved to be a coffin nail in the casket of minority rights.

 

JRH 5/5/13

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Pakistani Christian wishes for renaissance of Jinnah’s Pakistan

 

Muhammad Ali Jinnah - religeous freedom quote

 

By Shamim Masih

Sent: 5/2/2013 5:31 AM

 

Islamabad Pakistan (Shamim Masih): It remains a fact that minorities of Pakistan are crippled and damaged under an anarchy system. In the prevailing social scenario of the country the message of the founder of the nation, Muhammad Ali Jinnah appears to be lost somewhere and the continuous hatching of conspiracies by certain elements with vested interests and nefarious designs, seems to have prevailed. Mr. Jinnah, while addressing the concerns of communities in Pakistan, very clearly said, “You are free; you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your Churches or to any other place of worship in the state of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed that has nothing to do with the business of the State.”

 

Before Election 2013, representatives from different political parties have reaffirmed their commitment to religious minorities and promised to work for a Pakistan where every person, regardless of caste, creed or faith, is treated equally in the day-long national consultation on the “Election 2013, Role and Responsibility of the Religious Minorities” organized by the coalition for the Rights of Minorities (CRM).

 

Earlier South Asia Free Media Association (SAFMA) arranged group discussion “Awam Chahtey Hain” and Romana Bashir, (a social activist from the Christian minority) among the panelists raised and demanded a clear policy from the mainstream political parities against hate material in the syllabus and anti-human and anti-minority laws.

 

According to the report, the Social Studies curriculum in Pakistan, as the product and propagator of the ‘Ideology of Pakistan,’ derives its legitimacy from a narrow set of directives.

 

The textbooks authored and altered during the 11 years of General Zia ul Haq’s rule are still being taught in schools. They are decidedly anti-democratic and inclined to dogmatic tirades, the report said.

 

It said the country’s education system had nurtured a cadre of religiously conservative youth as the Pakistan Studies curriculum employed a narrow, politicized definition of Islam in the construction of Pakistani nationalism.

 

Local textbooks teach students that the Hindus (of India) are backward and superstitious and given a chance, they would assert their power over the weak, especially, Muslims, depriving them of education by pouring molten lead in their ears. “Pakistan Studies textbooks are an active site to represent India as a hostile neighbor,” the report stated. “The story of Pakistan’s past is intentionally written to be distinct from, and often in direct contrast with, interpretations of history found in India. The report added that students were taught that Islam brought peace, equality, and justice to the subcontinent, to check the sinister ways of Hindus.

 

When I went through the Constitution of Pakistan, I was shaken to see the Constitutional discrimination against minorities. And it’s even pathetic to know that none of our Pakistani Christian leaders raised voice against it. Let’s go back and see the inaugural speech of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah which made clear reference to the kind of the State that he envisioned. He was unequivocal that the new state will be secular as he said that it will not differentiate its citizens on the basis of religion. Founder of Pakistan died in September 1948, way before the Assembly could make a constitution for the new country. The latter leaders pegged the constitution on Islam which many describe as a gross violation of the ideal set by Muhammad Ali Jinnah in 11 August speech.

 

Social persecution and legal discrimination against minorities has reached at the climax point. Nationalizing Missionaries schools and colleges in 1972 was a move by Mr. Bhutto, founder of Pakistan People’s Party, PPP; thus persecution started during Bhutto’s regime. Then a military dictator General Zia-ul-Haq unleashed a wave of persecution in the 1980s, since then violence against minorities has never really ceased. Attackers kill and wound particular Christians and Ahmadis then burn their homes and businesses.

 

Christians and other minorities wish and expect that the reaffirmation of politicians come true and Pakistan becomes the country where all citizens shall be treated equally regardless of caste, creed or faith. Every Pakistani should take this as an initiative to stop the alienation of the religious minorities that are taking place. The government will have to address the situation at a policy level and take steps to ensure the rights of these communities. Hate speeches and exploitation of the masses under the grab of religion will have to be stopped. A combined effort is required by everyone to bring these communities back into the mainstream Pakistani identity. Their apprehensions should be addressed and they should be treated as an equal citizen. This will not only represent Islam’s message of coexistence and peace but will also form an exemplary social structure, for the whole world and fulfill the Quaid’s dream of a prosperous and peaceful Pakistani state.

 

Be Blessed,

 

Shamim Masih

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The Two Jinnahs of Pakistan Independence

John R. Houk

© May 5, 2013

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Pakistani Christian wishes for renaissance of Jinnah’s Pakistan

 

Editing John R. Houk

 

© Shamim Masih

Christian Rights Activist
Freelance Journalist 

Secretary General

REAP
 

Shamim Masih’s Donate/Support info:

 

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