Islamabad Pakistan (SHAMIM MASIH):
It is the misfortune of Pakistani Christians that they have been facing a crises of Christian political leadership since partition. A strong and visionary political leadership is the best solution to end Christian persecution.
Thus far, only Julius Salik and Shaheed Shahbaz Bhatti rose as visionary political figures in Pakistani Christians leadership.
The discourse on the method of minority representation in parliament has hovered around joint electorate system verses separate electorate for decades.
Pakistan Christian Post (PCP), in a recent memorandum to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), has demanded minority representation in parliament on the basis of dual voting rights, after members from the Christian and Hindu community expressed serious reservations on the joint electorate system introduced by former President Parvaiz Musharaf in the year 2000.
Dual Voting Rights is an electoral system through which religious minorities can elect their representatives in Parliament - similar to separate electorates - whilst simultaneously voting for general seat candidates.
Highlighting the joint electorate system as one based on patronage, the PCP have said that the joint electorate system empowers “Muslim political parties to distribute minority reserved seats in parliament in a ratio to their seats in assemblies through selection of their favored religious minority leaders, often after taking bribes in millions of rupees.”
I hope our future Christian leaders assess the needs of our community and challenge for appropriate electoral reform, working together across part divides to ensure the best possible solution for our long suffering communities.