Islamabad: Pakistan's Sikhs want a seat in the Senate or upper house of Parliament to be reserved for the minority community in elections scheduled for March.
"We currently have no representative in the National Assembly or in the Sindh Assembly," said Sardar Ramesh Singh, chairman of the Sikh Naujwan Sabha Pakistan.
The demand for a Senate seat for Sikhs was raised when a delegation representing minority communities met the new minority affairs secretary on Tuesday.
Four new seats for minority communities will be added to the 100-member Senate for the elections to be held on March 02. A majority of members of the Senate are elected by lawmakers of the four provincial assemblies while some seats are filled on the recommendations of the government.
During the meeting on Tuesday, Michael Javed, a Christian representative and a leader of the Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf, raised the fact that the government had been unable to implement its decision to reserve five percent of jobs for non-Muslims.
"Minorities are not being appointed on the seats reserved for them and those who are appointed after a struggle, are discriminated against and treated very harshly by others," he said.
Javed touched on the state of the minority affairs department in Sindh, saying its secretary has no place to sit. "The minorities' secretary has not been given an office at the secretariat," he said.
Mangla Sharma of the Pakistan Hindu Welfare Council said parliamentarians are given financial aid for minorities but they do not use the funds properly.
"They are not even in touch with us," Sharma said.
First Published: Thursday, January 26, 2012, 15:02