| Statement | Pakistan | 9 Oct 2015 | Asia Samachar |
STATEMENT FROM PAKISTAN SIKH COUNCIL
KARACHI: Showing his reservations over lack of representation in the provincial and national assemblies, Pakistan Sikh Council patron-in-chief Sardar Ramesh Singh Khalsa , declared that the Sikh biradari (community) wouldn’t participate in the upcoming local body elections.
With a population of around 10,000 in Sindh, the Sikhs demand a right to dual vote to choose representatives from whichever community they deem fit without being limited to their own.
“Our reservation is with the way elections are held at the local level,” complained Mr Ramesh Singh Khalsa while speaking to Media. “Earlier, people used to decide who their elected councillor would be, but now the decision rests with political parties. The same happened recently during the local government elections in the cantonment areas of Karachi. Four councillors selected by the party leaders decided who their minority candidate should be.
“The minority leader selected by them doesn’t listen to grievances of smaller communities within the minorities.”
During the previous tenure of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif from 1997 to 1999, the Parsis and Sikhs used to have one reserved seat in the National Assembly and one in each provincial assembly across Pakistan. This way, he added, both the communities used to accommodate their respective candidates who in turn listened to the grievances of the community at large and made efforts to solve them.
The bifurcation between seats for the Parsis, Sikhs, Baha’is and Buddhists is not there any more. What happened instead, he added, was that “Hindu and Christian communities usually get elected on reserved seats for minorities without any consideration given to the plight of smaller communities such as ours (Sikhs).”
A right to dual vote, he added, would not only make them choose candidates from their own community but a right to choose from a Muslim-majority area, too.
Sardar Ramesh Singh
(Patron in Chief)
Pakistan Sikh Council