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Pakistan's minorities call the electoral system 'religious apartheid'

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    Pakistan's minorities call the electoral system 'religious apartheid'

    ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AP) -- Members of Pakistan's religious minorities Sunday condemned an electoral system that separates Muslims from non-Muslims.

    Following a daylong meeting involving representatives of several religious minorities, the Christian Liberation Front of Pakistan issued a declaration calling the system "religious apartheid."

    In Pakistan, where 95 percent of the country's 140 million people are Muslim, members of minority religions vote not for candidates in their local district but for a list of minority candidates. The minorities are given separate seats in the National Assembly, which is the powerful lawmaking lower house of Parliament.

    Minorities have 10 seats in Pakistan's 211-seat parliament, which was suspended by the army when it seized power in a military coup Oct 12, 1999.

    "This religious apartheid has politically and socially ostracized the religious minorities of Pakistan," said the declaration jointly issued by Pakistan's Christian, Hindu, Sikh, Zoroastrian and Bahai communities.

    The declaration comes as Pakistan's military-led government prepares to hold local elections, set to begin Dec. 31. The army has promised to hold general elections before the end of 2002, in keeping with a Supreme Court ruling.

    Pakistan's Human Rights Commission also has been a strong advocate of a joint electoral system, where one person, one vote determines the successful candidate in an election.

    The country's minority religions have long complained about the separate electoral system which was instituted nearly 20 years ago.

    There was no immediate comment from the military government. Previous governments in Pakistan have refused to change the system, saying it gives minorities a voice in the Parliament. The system is strongly supported by the country's right-wing Islamic parties.

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    Atleast in India there is no system as such unlike pakistan where their own citizens are debarred from voting and electing their representative. Minorities hold big portfolios in India and in Pakistan minorities are not even smelled.

    I don't know who this particular party represents but minority writers have continously supported the current system as it guarentees them seats in the assembly.Only Qadianis have had a problem with the system in the past for their own agenda.Minorities in pak also get to high posts.there has traditionally been a minority minister in the cabinet.


      Sajjadm once again you have done it.
      You have put your foot in your mouth once again.
      Pakistani minorties have many equal rights.
      We have 2 christian senators, 4 Amb, & in the FO, many in various ministries etc.
      The indian way of involing minorities is destroying their religious and sacred places.


      [This message has been edited by CM (edited November 20, 2000).]
      You can't fix stupid. So might as well troll them!


        Sajadam do you know all your facts to actually make your claims? No!

        Some facts for you:-

        - Non-Muslim population of Pakistan = 3.3% of the total population.

        - Minorities have 10 Reserved seats in the National Assembly (out of total 217 members) = 4.6% of all seats.

        - So minorities have a higher proportion of seats than their population deserves.

        - In theory minorities have TWO votes in national elections. One vote for the 207
        general seats and the second vote for the 10 reserved seats.

        - The minorities themeselves are divided over this electoral system - half are in favour of reserved seats and half are against.

        Do you know why?

        Well because the minority population in Pakistan is spread quite evenly across the country, with no minority forming a majority in any parliamentary constituency. If there was one voting system then there would be very few if any minorities elected - maybe 1 or 2 but not 10! This is the argument of those minorities in favour of retaining the system as it is.

        Those minorities against claim it is discramnatory and violates the principles of our founder Quaid-e-Azam. General Musharraf has pledged to end the dual system in consultation with the minorities.

        But as for claiming that minorities are highly represented in Indian government as comapared to Pakistan - what a laugh! If you think having a Muslim as your sports minister is representation then you have to be joking.

        Since 1947 minorities have had seats in EVERY national and provincial government cabinet in Pakistan.

        Get your facts straight before jumping for joy every time you see such articles.

        [This message has been edited by Malik73 (edited November 20, 2000).]


          Malik my information was that benazir's reform which gave minorities dual voting was scrapped under sharif.Am I right on this?
          Anyway I am in favour of giving minorities the right to vote for both kinds of seats.Several vested interests are trying to stir every possible controversy in pakistan.Christians have been engaged for some time now by U.S. and Europe.I'm sure they are being pushed to make trouble although the current system only favours minorities.


            Ahmed Nawaz Sharif tried to end the the dual voting system for minorities in his "Shariat Bill" ammendement, giving minorities just the one vote (like Muslims) for their reserved seats. But he failed to pass this bill because he lacked a 2/3 majority in the Senate.

            As it stands the minorities (unlike Muslims) have TWO votes in elections - one for general seats and the second for the reserved seats.

            [This message has been edited by Malik73 (edited November 20, 2000).]


              Good points mailik.

              You can't fix stupid. So might as well troll them!


                would ever a non-muslim can become president of pakistan . what the pakistan constittuion
                says about the religiosity of president of the country do they have to be muslim.
                i am not talking about the powerful post of primeminster just ceremonial post of president


                  Rvikz the Pakistani constitution does say that the President and Prime Minister have to be Muslims. And thats hardly an unreasonable request is it considering that 97% of the population is Muslim?

                  How many non-Hindu's have actually held the post of Prime Minister in India since 1947 and I'm NOT talking about the powerless and useless position of President.

                  [This message has been edited by Malik73 (edited November 21, 2000).]