Pakistani Sikhs and Other Minorities Demand Seat in Senate
Sikh’s in Pakistan are demanding a seat in the Senate or upper house of parliament. They are requesting that a seat be reserved for minorities in the country to have some hope for their community to be represented even in the smallest possible way.
Sardar Ramesh Singh, chairman of Sikh Naujwan Sabha, Pakistan, said that the Sikh community currently has no representatives in the National Assembly of the government. A delegation representing minority communities met with the new minority affairs secretary demanding that the one seat be reserved for the minority community.
Four new seats have been added to the 100-member Senate. They have been added and will be reserved for the minority community during the upcoming March election.
The lawmakers of the four provincial assemblies elect majority of the Senate representatives while a few seats are left to be filled based on recommendations of the government.
During the meeting with the minority affairs secretary, Michael Javed, a Christian representative and leader of the Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf brought to attention the fact that the government was not able to keep its promise of reserving 5 % of jobs for non-Muslims.
He further stated that after this known fact he finds it hard to accept and believe that four seats will in fact be saved for minority representatives in the March election. He fears that even if a minority is selected, he/she will be forced to resign due to discrimination, and harsh treatment by other government officials and representatives. He also brought to attention the fact that in the minority affairs department in Sindh, the secretary has no place to sit.
Mangla Sharma, member of the Pakistan Hindu Welfare Council stated that although parliamentarians are given financial aid for minorities, it is never used properly and hardly reaches the community members at all.