A minority rights organization has called on Pakistan’s “future government” to create genuine democratic space and protect the rights of non-Muslim citizens.
Minority Concern, a group that advocates for equal rights of religious communities in Pakistan, issued a “Charter of Demands” to political parties ahead of the general elections in February.
In a document sent to LiCAS.news, Aftab Alexander, director of Minority Concern, said minority rights should get significant space in the political process and the governance system of Pakistan.
The group urged political parties to “take concrete measures to make Pakistan a pluralistic state by putting Qauide-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s speech in the parliament”.
It also called for the implementation of the judgment (SMC No. 1/2014), given by the former Chief Justice of Pakistan Tasaduq Hussain Jilani on June 19, 2014, on minority rights.
“Minorities should have an effective presence in decision-making bodies, especially for the nomination of non-Muslim’s reserved seats, which should be representative, merit-based, and transparent,” the document read.
The group said political Parties must give tickets to non-Muslim candidates that they can win in an open election on general seats from their respective parties.
It also called on stakeholders to “make sure that hate speech against non-Muslims should not be used or condoned” and allow minorities to actively take part in the elections.
The group urged the restoration of the Ministry of Minorities and called on parties to give special attention to the major minority issues, such as discriminatory laws, which are contrary to the international human rights treaties, protection of minorities, the issue of their development, abduction and forced marriages of non-Muslim girls, and the just implementation of the jobs’ quota system.
“Lands should be given to Churches and Temples, just like lands are given to Muslims,” it added.