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Pak minorities to press new govt on religious freedom

world Updated: Jun 06, 2013 00:34 IST

Members of Pakistan's minority communities have pledged to pile up pressure on the incoming government to promote religious freedom.

Minorities' representatives, both in Parliament and provincial assemblies, want a fresh legislation on religious freedom to protect rights of an estimated nine million non-Muslims living in Pakistan, reports The Express Tribune.

Member of provincial assembly (MPA) Ramesh Singh Arora, addressing issues of the Sikh community, said there was a sense of insecurity among Sikhs in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa due to the law and order situation.

Member of national assembly (MNA) Aasiya Nasir, a Christian from the platform of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl, said the minorities wanted to stay away from sensitive issues but would continue to struggle for their basic rights.

An important proposed bill seeking the registration of Hindus, the largest minority in Pakistan, is pending with the standing committee concerned since 2011, the report said.

At present, some 38 non-Muslims are representing minorities in Parliament as well as provincial assemblies. Ten members are elected on NA-reserved seats in the lower house of Parliament and four are already representing minorities in the Senate.

Nine members are representing minorities in the Sind assembly, eight in the Punjab assembly and three each in Balochistan and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa assemblies. Only one MPA, Dr Mahesh Malani, won direct elections from PS-61, Tharparkar, Sindh.