KARACHI: The first Sikh from Sindh submitted on Thursday his nomination form seeking an MPA seat reserved for minorities.
Ramesh Singh Khalsa, a young Sikh activist from Sindh, while talking to The Express Tribune, said, “I have applied for the Pakistan People’s Party [PPP] MPA ticket for the reserved seats”.
“Although, the PPP has not officially announced the names of ticket holders but I’m hopeful that I’ll be awarded [the ticket’,” Khalsa maintained. According to him, a Sikh member of the Sindh Assembly would give a positive message of Sindh and the PPP all over the world.
Khalsa is the patron-in-chief of the Pakistan Sikh Council and he also won an international award, titled ‘Sikhs in Charity’, which was held in Canada last year for working over 16 years for the rights of Sikh and other communities.
There has been no Sikh member of the Sindh Assembly since partition, whereas, all other provinces’ legislative bodies have had a Sikh member at some point in time, Khalsa claimed.
“If I get a chance, I will be a voice of minorities, especially of my community, which has been neglected for decades,” Khalsa pointed out.
When asked what legislation he would try to do for the Sikh community if he was elected as an MPA, he replied that there were several issues related to Sikhs including laws governing their marriages, job quota and security of gurdwaras. He also stressed the need for the allocation of development funds for religious sites of Sikhs.
According to Khalsa, outstanding problems of the Sikh community could only be resolved if they were given representation in the assembly.
I have trust in the leadership of Bilawal Bhutto Zardari as only PPP has tried to help solve the issues of minorities by letting people of middle and lower middle class like Krishna Kohli and Anwar Lal Dean elected to the Senate and assemblies, he said.
Khalsa reiterated that the presence of a Sikh in the assembly wearing the traditional turban would give a good message to the Sikh community in the province, country and across the world.
The defence minister of Canada is a Sikh, he said, adding that a Sikh has also been inducted in the newly formed federal cabinet of Malaysia.
The population of Sikhs in Sindh is over 10,000, however, no Sikh has ever been able to represent the community in Sindh Assembly.
A majority of the candidates applying for the reserved seats for minorities have submitted their forms without mentioning the party as no party has yet announced its minority candidates
Earlier, June 8 had been announced as the last date of the submission of forms. However, the date has been extended till June 11.