SAP-Pk held meeting on laws and Religious Freedom and Rights of Minorities


Peshawar: Provincial legislators from different political parties on a meeting on minorities’ rights vowed to table a draft about formation of Commission on the Status of Minority Rights (CSMR) in the provincial assembly forthwith.

They said this during the meeting, titled, “Consultation meeting with Parliamentarians on possible enactment for new minorities’ laws and Religious Freedom and Rights of Minorities” organized by South Asia Partnership Pakistan (SAP-Pk) held here at a local hotel on Tuesday.

Those parliamentarians who were acquainted with the proposed draft and shared their views on the rights of minorities were included Mufti Fazl Ghafoor of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fazl (JUI-F), Arif Yousaf of Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI), Sardar Hussain Babak of Awami National Party (ANP), Fadrick Azeem Ghauri from Christian community of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Sultan Khan of Qaumi Watan Party (QWP) while a senior journalist Shamim Shahid and Amir Khattak and Nusrat Ara of the organisation discussed the matter.

Sardar Hussain said that if the non-Muslim communities call themselves as minorities, differences and distances would be increased, so they should consider themselves as Pakistani civilians and deserved for all equal rights. To remove the distances will help creating interfaith harmony and love each other, he added.

Fadrick Ghauri expressed his concern over less quota in jobs particularly in educational institutes as he said there was only one seat for minority students in Khyber Medical College throughout the province, which he added was injustice with non-Muslims in Khyber Pukhtunkhwa (KP).

Mufti Fazl Ghafoor on the occasion demanded of the provincial government to end quota system in education and jobs and appointments and admission be made on merit without any discriminately whether they are Muslims or non-Muslims in order to remove sense of deprivation within the minorities.

Sultan Khan welcomed the proposed draft on the commission for minority rights and stressed for a comprehensive draft about the rights of minorities so that their problems could be mitigated.

Arif Yousaf assured that the provincial government was committed to provide equal rights to minorities and asked the political parties in opposition to set aside all their political differences and jointly work for the non-Muslim Pakistanis.

Earlier, Nusrat Ara and Shamim Shahid in their detailed presentation informed the parliamentarians about the issues being faced by minorities and the proposed draft as well.

They said there were several ordeals to the non-Muslims including kidnap, Hindu marriage registration, early marriage, forced conversion, protection for worship places, forced displacement, curriculum, wings in political parties, increase of seat in provincial assembly, laws exists (Equal rights).

Shamim Shahid lauded the PTI-led provincial government for passing Minority Property Protection Bill (MPPB) and demanded for framing by-laws and then implementation in order to protect minorities’ property particularly Hindu community, which he added either occupied in the name heritage by the concerned department or grabbed by land mafia.