Sajid Ishaq- top court rejects petition to increase minority

Sajid Ishaq Chairman PIL

Pakistan’s top court rejects petition to increase minority seats

Sajid Ishaq President Minority, Pakistan’s top court has dismissed a plea by a Christian group seeking an increase in the seats reserved for religious minorities in the national and provincial assemblies.

A two-judge bench of the Supreme Court on Feb. 7 rejected the petition on the grounds that the constitutional amendment was required to increase minority representation. The highest court in the country said it cannot issue directions to the parliament on the issue.

“The court was not authorized to issue an order to the parliament to amend the constitution. How could the court decide for enhancing the minorities’ seats in the parliament,” Justice Ijazul Ahsan observed.

The petition brought by the Pakistan Interfaith League (PIL) was earlier rejected by Lahore High Court.

Christian human rights activists had long been demanding an increase in seats for religious minorities from 10 to 14 in the 342-seat national assembly. The national parliament currently has four Christian and six Hindu members.

Currently, religious minorities can contest only 33 reserved seats in the provincial assemblies and four seats in the Senate.

Minority voters account for 3.63 million or 3.5 percent of the 118 million voters in Pakistan, according to official records.

Christian activists in Pakistan rejected the sixth population census in general and data on religious minorities in particular since official data of the 2017 census showed the overall minority population fell from 3.73 percent in 1998 to 3.53 percent in 2017. The Christian population declined significantly by 0.32 percent in the aggregate figure.

Minorities in Pakistan say that the government has undercounted them in an attempt to draw smaller constituencies and share out fewer seats in assemblies and the Senate.

Akmal Bhatti, chairman of the Minorities Alliance Pakistan, termed the petition a political drama.

“Those who are already lost cannot be called our leaders. They didn’t even know that electoral reforms can come only through a constitutional amendment. The deviants are misleading simple people. Our movements need political training,” he said in a social media post.

Sabir Michael, a Catholic human rights activist and professor at the University of Karachi, welcome the court verdict.

“Sadly, some Christian groups try to reach out to the top court, for every matter, for the sake of popularity. Instead, they should lobby the parliamentarians.  Even this rejection can build momentum on social media,” he told UCA News.

Sajid Ishaq President Minority
Sajid Ishaq President Minority

Sajid Ishaq President Minority, Pakistan’s top court rejects petition to increase minority seats, This Article was published in ucanews on February 09, 2022

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