Defeated and vulnerable, members of minority communities of the country are now looking for a ‘saviour’, and they seem to have found one in the Imran Khan-led Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaaf.
A former activist of the Pakistan Peoples Party minority wing and dozens of supporters from various religious communities are the latest to inflate PTI’s growing popularity.
While talking to The Express Tribune, former parliamentarian and ticketholder of the PPP Michael Javed confirmed that he resigned from the party and is joining the PTI because the government has failed to provide rights to vulnerable communities.
“The PPP was unable to protect our minister, Shahbaz Bhatti. How can it protect us?” he said, adding that, “In the past three years, the government failed to solve the basic problems – unemployment, poverty insecurity.”
Javed also has personal reasons for leaving the PPP after it chose former Senator Khatu Mal Jeewan as Bhatti’s successor in the National Assembly. However, according to the PPP’s priority list for reserved seats of minorities, Javed was next in line to Bhatti.
“I was to become the next MNA but the government overlooked me. They sought resignation from Khatu Mal Jeewan from the Senate to pave way for Asim Hussain,” he said.
Javed added that the PPP has no Christian representative in the National Assembly, which has irked the Christian community of the country.
He said that around 400 to 500 workers of the organisation he is heading – Pakistan Minority Front – are now supporting the PTI.
PTI Sindh Spokesperson Dawa Khan Sabir confirmed the news, adding that a formal announcement will be made next week. “Michael Javed and his supporters are now joining the PTI because they want to be associated with a non-corrupt party,” he said.
Hindus, Sikhs to join PTI
Sabir said that Hindus and Sikhs from Sukkur and other parts of Sindh are also joining the PTI in the wake of a recent incident of the killing of three Hindus in Shikarpur. But he did not confirm the exact number of people joining the party.
“We consider minorities as Pakistanis, and there is no discrimination in our party against people belonging to other faiths,” Sabir said.
He said that minorities will be represented in all core council meetings of the party, and if the party decides to contest the 2013 general elections, they will be represented.
Edited by Shayan Naveed
Published in The Express Tribune, November 23rd, 2011.