In compliance with the 18th Amendment, President Asif Ali Zardari recently signed an amendment in the Senate (Election) Rules 1975 to reserve four seats for non-Muslims in
On the other hand, the National Assembly was sensitive to the position of the largely backward religious minorities. It had a total of 342 seats, including 60 seats reserved for women and 10 seats reserved for non-Muslims. We are at a loss to understand the thinking behind this difference in envisaging representation in the two houses of parliament but welcome the correction that the 18th Amendment has brought about. The provincial assemblies already have non-Muslim seats in proportion to the numbers in the constituencies, in addition to those elected on the basis of still controversial joint electorates.
A lacuna has been addressed by all the political parties who voted for the 18th Amendment. It is just as well that the ruling PPP did not have a two-thirds majority to pass the amendment; now the change denotes a political consensus otherwise in short supply in the country. This is not to say that problems faced by the non-Muslim minorities are well on the way to being resolved. The controversial and much-misused blasphemy laws, are still on the statute book and regularly used to victimise them individually or collectively. Finally it is a measure of how incapable our political parties are of providing leadership on crucial issues and will go along with the base instincts of society to retain themselves in popular focus.
The germ of the two-nation doctrine is embedded in the mind of the Muslim majority community and it is misapplied to an already minuscule non-Muslim population in
General Zia actually separated the non-Muslims from the rest of the nation through separate electorates. Behind the change in the Eighth Amendment to the 1973 Constitution was the idea of ‘zimmi-hood’ which he and his partners in power had close to their heart although many thought it was violation of the spirit of Mithaq-e-Madina envisaging one nation. He, however, stopped short of ‘
When late Governor Punjab Salmaan Taseer publicly condemned the law, killed by his own bodyguard. After his death no one would lead his funeral prayer, and the man who finally did has run away to the