Call to protect rights of minorities

LARKANA: Civil Society Support Program (CSSP) in collaboration with Enhanced Democratic Accountability and Civic Engagement (EDACE) organized a seminar on “Rights of Minority” here in a local hotel. The program was attended by Larkana High Court Bar General Secretary Advocate Akeel Ahmed Bhutto, Larkana Hindu Panchayat Committee Chairperson Advocate Kalpana Devi, Human Rights Activist Iqbal Detho, Dr. Inayat Magsi and a large number of people belonging to different walks of life.

Speaking at the program, Iqbal Detho said that minority communities in Pakistan have been stigmatized as ‘untouchable’ since past many millennia. Article 36 of the Constitution of 1973 of Pakistan says, “The State shall safeguard the legitimate rights of minorities, including their due representation in the federal and provincial services”, while same constitution through Article 25 also guarantees equality but regrettably the minorities are not being treated as equal in this state.

He said that lower social status of minority communities translates into their poor representation in political system which hinders their access to governance structures and their legislative needs also remain unsupplied. Mr. Detho further said that there are reserved seats for religious minority members in both national and provincial assemblies but these representatives are not elected by the minorities rather they are nominated by the political parties and therefore the gap between the elected representatives and their constituents is much wider for non-Muslims. He stressed the need to implement Supreme Court Verdict of June 2014 that clearly outlined strategies to protect the rights of minorities.

Advocate Kalpana Devi said that religious minorities are facing many problems among all, forced conversions is major issue. She said that 5% quota of minorities is not being implemented and the political parties do not give due space to minorities in the political formation and they are being politically isolated. She further said that the attacks on worship places of minorities, kidnapping and killing, forced conversions, rape with minority girls are matter of great concerns for govt as well as civil society in Pakistan. Advocate Devi demanded to resolve the issues of minorities through making legislation.

Advocate Akeel Ahmed Bhutto said that that the incidents of kidnapping and forced conversions of Hindu and Christian girls are increasing day by day. The govt should take practical measures to stop the violations against minorities. He also called to establish peace and religious harmony in the society. Dr. Inayat Magsi also termed that minorities are being harassed because they are considered a weak creature in this society. Advocate Aslam Jatoi, Afzal Shaikh, Maqbool Mashori, Advocate Sattar Hulio and Umer Buriro also spoke on the occasion. PPI.