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April 19, 2018

‘PTI has failed to safeguard rights of minorities’


April 19, 2018

Islamabad: At a time when the leaders and politicians from different parties, especially the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) are making a bee-line to join Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI), the Central President (Minority Wing) of PTI, Sajid Ishaq, announced parting ways with his party on Tuesday.

He was elected as the Central President (Minorities Wing) of PTI in 2013. He was also a Member of the Central Executive Committee of the PTI. He announced the decision while addressing a press conference at a local hotel. He was accompanied by some other leaders of the minority communities including Javed Pyara, a senior leader from the KPK and other prominent minority communities members including Hindus, Sikhs and Christians.

Sajid Ishaq is the chairman of Pakistan Interfaith League (PIL), a socio-political movement comprising a network of religious scholars, clerics, political workers, journalists, lawyers, academia, students, civil society representatives, and members of corporate sector, specifically focusing to promote interfaith harmony, peace and collective wisdom in their respective domains.

He said that he was utterly disappointed by the approach and mindsets of the senior leadership of PTI towards religious minorities in Pakistan. “PTI has completely failed to safeguard the rights of the Minorities in general and Christians in particular. Besides, the ‘U-turn policy’ of the leadership it is disheartening that PTI is deviating from its ideology which emphasizes on protecting the rights of the oppressed,” Sajid Ishaq said.

“Quite often I advised Chairman Imran Khan to take firm stand for providing equal opportunities to Minorities but it is disappointing to see that PTI has miserably failed to even protect the rights of the minorities in KPK where it has its Government,” he added.

The PIL chairman said that the minorities have lost confidence in PTI as it has betrayed the trust of the non-Muslims, especially the Christians on a number of occasions. “The Christian members of PTI have always been loyal, sincere and dedicated to the vision and mission of PTI. The backed and supported the struggle launched by Imran Khan for bringing change, transparency and equality in Pakistan. However, ever since Christian members have joined PTI they have experienced discrimination and developed serious concerns,” Sajid Ishaq said.

He pointed out that the PTI has failed to consult the elected office bearers of the Minority Wing in all major decisions taken regarding the religious Minorities. The PTI Government in KPK failed to release the compensation amount of Rs two hundred million (Rs one hundred million announced by the Federal Government and Rs one hundred million announced by the KPK government) for the families of the martyrs of the Peshawar Church blast in 2013

He added that the PTI has approved only 3% job quota for religious minorities in KP while in rest of the country it is 5%, which is in direct contradiction with the judgment of the Supreme Court of Pakistan. Similarly, the number of reserved seats for the Minorities in KP is only 2% while in Sindh and Balochistan it is 5%.

He complained that the PTI has a parachute culture where people with money and influence jump in during times of elections and supersede all diehards who have been struggling all along.

He pointed out that as per the survey of Fair and Free Election Network (FAFEN), out of 28 constituencies where the strength of voters is over 200,000 in Sindh and Punjab, 20 constituencies belong to Christians while 8 to Hindus. Yet the Christians are not a considered preference for PTI.

Sajid Ishaq announced that he will not join any political party nor is he interested in obtaining reserved seats as he believes that reserved seats are equal to slavery where the selected representatives are busy pleasing the top leadership of the party that has bestowed the favour unto them and have no roots in the community.

He further said that the minorities have seen the mindsets of all political parties where they did not cater to the rights of the minorities during the Election Reform Committee proceedings; they did not give any representation to non-Muslim parliamentarians to voice the demand of the minorities and took decisions on their own which were neither in their favor nor did benefit the minorities in any way.

PIL chairman said that the minorities have been hoodwinked enough by all political parties and that they are not ready to be fooled again in 2018 elections. Chairman PIL also strongly criticized the role of the Non-Muslim Members of Parliament who, he claimed, have failed to safeguard the rights of the Religious Minorities and only enjoyed perks and privileges.

He announced that PIL will nominate its candidates against all political parties wherever Christians and other non-Muslims are in majority and that PIL is launching a country wide campaign from today to change the election on minority seats from ‘selection’ to ‘election’.

He said he will strive for increase in the number of seats of non-Muslims Pakistanis in national and provincial assemblies and will demand of all the political parties to award tickets to non-Muslim Pakistani wherever they are in a substantial number.

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