It was during the fag end of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) government when a bill was tabled to increase the number of seats in the National Assembly for the minority communities to enhance their representation in the House from existing 10 to 14 seats on proportionate basis.
The mover of the Bill was Akram Gill and the reason behind increasing the number of reserved seats in the National Assembly was that the existing number of seats, i.e. 10, was not in proportion with the number of total seats in House.
It was demanded in the Bill that the number of seats reserved for minority communities in the National Assembly should be raised to 14, corresponding with the existing number of seats in the House on proportionate basis.
The Central President of the Minority Wing of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf (PTI), Sajid Ishaq, said that this is high time for Prime Minister Mian Nawaz Sharif to fulfil his promise that he had made with the minority communities during his election campaign and bring up the Bill in the National Assembly.
“With such a thumping majority in the House and with all the support being extended by the like-minded and opposition parties on matters of national importance it should be very easy for Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to fulfil this one promise that he has made with the minority communities of Pakistan and tuck a feather in the cap of PML-N government,” Sajid Ishaq said.
The Bill was tabled by Akram Gill in October 2012 and voting was scheduled to be held in February 2013. There was an unwritten consensus on the Bill and it seemed, at that time, that it will have a smooth passage in both the Houses, the National Assembly as well as the Senate, because it was not opposed nor any objections were raised against it when it was tabled.
“It was really disappointing and frustrating for the representative of minority communities in the House because the Bill could not be taken up for voting only because of lack of required quorum every time the House was in session!” Sajid Ishaq pointed out.
And eventually the National Assembly completed its tenure with the move was put on pending agenda, to be taken up by the new government.
He said that now the representatives of the minority communities are looking up to the PML-N government, particularly towards Prime Minister Mian Nawaz Sharif, who, during his election campaign, had vociferously announced to protect the rights of minority community and giving them due share in the government.
Sajid Ishaq pointed out that the number of seats for the minority community in the National Assembly was raised to 10, which at that time was in proportion with the number of seats in the House. “Since the number of seats in the House were increased, as such it was very pertinent that the number of seats for the minority communities should also have been increased proportionately,” he added.
“We demand of the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and the government of the PML-N to take up the Bill for enhanced representation of the minority communities in proportion with the strength of the House and increase the number of reserved seats from existing 10 to 14 as has been suggested in the Bill tabled during the last government,” Sajid Ishaq said.