Bill seeking more seats for Pak minorities to be tabled in Par



Islamabad: A bill to increase the representation of non-Muslims in the national and provincial assemblies of Pakistan is expected to be tabled in Parliament tomorrow.

The bill seeks to increase the number of reserved seats for minority communities in the 342-member National Assembly and the four provincial assemblies, Minister of State for Interfaith Harmony Akram Masih Gill told the media today.

A total of 10 seats in the National Assembly or lower house of Parliament are currently reserved for non-Muslims.

Gill said he expected all political parties, including those in the opposition, to unanimously support the bill once it is presented in Parliament. He said there is an urgent need to increase the representation of non-Muslims in all the assemblies.

"Even in 1985, when the National Assembly had 217 members, the number of seats reserved for non-Muslims was 10. The strength of the National Assembly was increased in 2002 but the number of seats for non-Muslim remained the same," Gill said.

The Punjab Assembly has eight seats reserved for non-Muslims while the Sindh Assembly has nine reserved seats and the assemblies of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan have three seats each.

The bill to increase representation for non-Muslims has already been unanimously approved by the federal Cabinet, Gill said.

The sense of insecurity and deprivation among non-Muslims will be addressed by enhancing their seats in the national and provincial assemblies, he said.

PTI