Plea against mode of allocating minority seats


Qaiser Zulfiqar June 21, 2010

ISLAMABAD: Former minorities’ minister and renowned human rights activist J. Salik on Monday challenged article 51 E of the constitution in the Supreme Court. In the petition drafted by Zulfiqar Ahmed Bhutta and filed by Ejaz Muhammad Khan, Salik has argued the said article contravenes the fundamental rights of minorities and is in conflict with the basic structure of the constitution.

The petition argues that allocating seats reserved for minorities to political parties on the basis of their share of general seats in the National Assembly violates the fundamental rights of minorities. Salik also said this ‘proportional representation system’ goes against the basic structure of the constitution and should, as such, be set aside.

To justify his contention, Salik argued that lawmakers elected through such a procedure would end up owing their loyalty and power to the party that nominated them, not the religious minorities they are supposed to represent. This, Salik said, runs counter to the spirit of a democratic system. The activist has asked the court to strike down the amendment as void ab initio and pave the way for minorities to contest directly in general elections.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 22nd, 2010.

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