Pak breaching fundamental rights of weak and marginalised

New Delhi, Aug 17 : Asserting that it is the responsibility of Pakistan to ensure equal rights for all of its citizens, an editorial in the daily times has said that Islamabad does not seem to care about the challenges faced by the minorities.

Describing the discrimination of non-Muslims as a breach of democratic rights the editorial said not giving this community representation in Parliament is a gross violation of fundamental rights of the weak and marginalised.

The claims made by Pakistan on supporting the nations minorities were a mere eye wash, said the Daily Times.

"On National Minorities' Day, the prime minister, president and chief minister of Punjab have renewed commitment to provide equal rights to people of all religions without any discrimination in the light of the message of the founding father, Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah, but such resolves have proved mere eyewash so far.

It is the responsibility of the state to ensure equal rights of all citizens instead of singling out non-Muslims from mainstream society," said the paper.

"The government has barred non-Muslims from directly electing their representatives. They have no real representation in parliament. The reserved seats for minorities are filled at the discretion of winner political parties. The process is highly centralised and susceptible to corruption. The exclusion of non-Muslims from the direct electoral process is against the basic principles of democracy," it added.

Elucidating the feeble condition of non-Muslims, the article stated that minorities in Pakistan feel insecure and the onus of the same goes to the discriminatory policies of the state and society towards them, it said.

"They do not have equal rights, are often subjected to injustice, and come under attack on the pretext of mere allegations.

Forced conversion of girls belonging to minorities has become a common practice in the interior Sindh and some areas of Punjab.

The persecution of minorities at the hands of extremists has been going on for years, but not much has changed despite promises," cited the editorial.

"Non-Muslim Pakistanis must have a say in the general elections and have the choice to vote in favour of MPAs and MNAs on reserved seats in the general elections.

Socio-economic and political exclusion of non-Muslims must come to an end now, and they must be included in the mainstream dynamic of Pakistan, an ideology that was laid down by none other than Mohammad Ali Jinnah," it added.

"Things will change in Pakistan when the very word that is anathema to Pakistan's unity is eliminated from our lexicon: "minorities." Pakistan will become home to all who live here only when they are all simply called..Pakistanis," it concluded..

Source: ANI