Vol. 4 No. 3 (2021): Pakistan Journal of International Affairs
Articles

POLITICAL PARTICIPATION OF RELIGIOUS MINORITIES IN PAKISTAN A JOURNEY FROM JOINT ELECTORATE TO RESTORATION OF JOINT ELECTORATE

Published 2021-09-27

Abstract

During the Pakistan Movement and after its creation, Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah always admired the support of Pakistan by the leadership of the other religions. After getting independence, Quaid-eAzam, as a governor-general, promised free will, absolute free-living, equal rights, and equal identities of all citizens, including religious minorities in the newly born state. All three constitutions of the state followed UNCHR and gave equal rights and freedom to worship according to any religion to its citizens. However, with time attitude of political leadership, the approach of society, structure of the system changed. New laws introduced by new leadership and political suppression took place and made the religious minorities a marginalised community. Now, the political participation of these religious minorities is below the average. Constitution of 1973 reserved ten seats for minorities in National Assembly, eight seats in Punjab Assembly, nine seats in Sindh Assembly, three seats in both KPK and Baluchistan Assemblies, respectively, and four seats in Senate. However, for these seat minorities, leadership does not participate in elections. Since 1985 the issue of the separate or joint electorate for religious minorities rose. Joint and separate electorate both have their limitations for effective participation. This research paper is an effort to search for the barriers in political participation of religious minorities in Pakistan and find out the problems with joint and separate electorates for religious minorities within the state? For this purpose, qualitative research was used, analysis of secondary data was used as a technique.