Minorities And Marginalized Overlooked: MAP Calls Out Political Failures Of Jinnah’s Vision For Religious Minorities – OpEd


In a bold move against discriminatory election laws prevailing in Pakistan, Chairman of the Minority Alliance Pakistan, Advocate Akmal Bhatti, addressed concerns about the systematic neglect of minority rights and concerns in the manifestos of major political parties. The press conference held on January 18 brought attention to the recurring trend of political leaders engaging with minority communities only during election seasons, leaving their concerns unaddressed post-elections.

Chairman Bhatti, alongside Vice Chairman Shamoun Alfred Gill and President of MAP-Belgium Joseph Jansen, condemned the nepotism, bribery, and recommendations surrounding reserved seats for minorities and women in upcoming elections. This present electoral process was labeled a betrayal of true democracy by Chairman Bhatti, asserting that it undermines democratic principles and perpetuates a system marginalizing minority voices.

Highlighting the failure of the Constitution of Pakistan and the Election Act to address this problem, Chairman Bhatti declared, “Depriving a major political party from the elections has also taken away the right of millions of women and thousands of minorities to have their representatives and members participate on the reserved seats.”

Joseph Jansen, President of MAP Belgium, emphasized the immediate need for legislation and criminalization to combat forced religious conversion and minor girl marriages. He called on political parties to prioritize legislation against hate crimes and discrimination, emphasizing the importance of taking measures to halt forced religious conversions of minority girls and ensuring justice by prosecuting perpetrators. Jansen also advocated for the inclusion of minority job quotas in public services and admission quotas in higher educational institutions to amplify representation and opportunities for minorities.

Expressing concern about the reluctance of the people of Jaranwala to participate in the voting process, Shamoun Alfred Gill cited a lack of trust in the system due to political parties not fulfilling their roles and leaders fearing religious extremists.

Chairman Bhatti concluded by announcing the support of the Minority Alliance Pakistan for any political party that includes electoral reforms and upholds the right of minorities to elect their representatives in their manifestos. The call for change aims to foster a democratic process that truly represents the diverse voices within Pakistan.

Kashif Nawab

Kashif Nawab is a Director with Social Action Transformation of Humanity (SATH) in Pakistan.

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