PESHAWAR: The Peace Education and Development Foundation (PEAD) will be launching ‘Pakistan Election Monitoring Project 2013’ to educate and sensitise minorities about voting rights.
PEAD Programme Manager Tariq Hayat Khan on Monday said the current practice of political parties selecting minority leaders, instead of them being elected by the group they represent, yields no benefits for minorities in the country. “Minority leaders handpicked by parties only remain loyal to their party leadership and not to those they represent.”
It is pivotal to enlighten minorities of the change they can bring by sensibly choosing their representative in assemblies and voting for the party that gives preference to minority rights in their manifesto, he added.
PEAD’s election project will kickoff this month and last until April 25. Its main objectives will be to highlight human rights issues being faced by minority groups in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P), further inter-harmony dialogue in the society and ensure issues facing minorities are part of party manifestos.
Minorities in K-P include Christians, Hindus, Sikhs, Bahai, Ahmadis and Zoroastrians among others. PEAD will conduct four meetings to raise awareness in Peshawar, Mardan, Nowshera and Kohat. These meetings will address various communities on using their right to vote prudently in the upcoming general elections, said Tariq, adding that this will civically empower them.
Meeting will be held in churches, temples and gurdwaras and manifestos of different parties will be discussed to judge who is more committed to addressing issues faced by minorities. Local minority religious leaders will also be included in the meetings.
Tariq said publications and flyers will be distributed during these meetings while posters will also be displayed at community centres and public places.
Additionally, two one-day youth training sessions involving 50 students from Peshawar and Nowshera will be conducted to include young people representing minorities. The youth will be educated on minority rights granted under the Constitution and how they can actively participate in democracy to better their community’s future.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 19th, 2013.
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