Saturday marked a historic milestone for the Sikh community in the province. A Sikh representative, for the first time since 1947, took oath as a member of the provincial assembly in Punjab at its first session.
He was nominated on a seat reserved for minorities on a Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) ticket.
Sardar Ramesh Singh Arora walked into the assembly hall wearing a traditional white shalwar kamees and an orange turban. Several parliamentarians and assembly officials shook hands with him and welcomed him. Several of his family and friends were there to support him as well.
“As the first Sikh to have taken oath as a parliamentarian in the Punjab Assembly since 1947, I am absolutely delighted to be part of this august house. The position certainly comes with a lot of responsibility. I will not only be representing my own community but all the minorities in the province,” Arora told The Express Tribune after taking the oath.
Arora hails from Narowal and has been associated with the Pakistan Gurudwara Parbandhak Committee.
“PML-N’s priorities include eliminating load shedding and reviving the economy,” he said, minorities will benefit from these.
Arora said that he would work for the rehabilitation of historical and religious sites of the Sikhs. “Sites sacred to other religions will also be restored through the Evacuee Trust Property Board,” he said.
He said work on the reformation of the Gurudwara Parbhandhak Committee was already underway, adding that it would be made more effective and efficient. “I will do the best I can to serve minorities. That is my aim and my party’s policy. That is why I’m here and that is what my oath was about,” he said.
Parliamentarian drives in on a motorbike
While most parliamentarians were seen reaching the assembly chambers on expensive SUVs and luxury cars, one of them chose a different mode of transport. Maulana Ghiyasud Din, a PML-N MPA from Shakargarh, drove a motorbike, with a green number plate reading MPA, to the assembly building.
“There is need to promote simplicity in our culture. That is why I drove a motorbike to attend the first assembly session. We need to cut down on expenses and solve problems like load shedding as soon as possible,” he said.
The effort towards that end needs to start from day one, he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 2nd, 2013.
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There is a huge difference between a 'directly elected' and a 'nominated' member of PA, or NA. In India Muslim candidates win direct elections from general constituencies with hindu majority voters. Truth is Pakistan is atleast 100 years behind from even an imperfect democracy.
I was actually rooting for Imran Khan in the general elections but I still have hope that the current Punjab government will actually work for the betterment, I hope and pray that they are not corrupt (fingers crossed) and they end the long 5 year time-line with a better Pakistan.
Starting from day 1.
Congratulations! this is Change in Pakistan.
Congratulations! this is Change in Pakistan !!!!!!!!!!!
Very beautiful ! It brings Pakistan from out of the closet. Other than that Ramesh Singh will work on representing minorities, and repair maintain historical Sikh places, make sure he is not supporting any Khalistani agenda, that will ruin all efforts and initiatives taken here.
@Saleh Muhammad: They did. Could have given all seats to Hindu or Christain nominees as was done in the past.
@zog: sikh nominee is Pakistani national and has been elected on reserve seat according to constitution of this country. why such hype is being created?the political parties had no other options.
I'm flabbergasted !!!!!!!!
How about reserved seats for Muslims in India ?
Pakistan should get rid of reserved seats. There are no reserve seats in US senate or Indian parliament for Muslims or any other minority.
'drove with a green number plate reading 'MPA'?! Supposed to have a number on it isn't it?
Congratulations! this is Change in Pakistan.
Great news. I hope this positivity continues.
I really support positive action to encourage minorities... I hope one day it wont be such an event when different members of Pakistani's religious communities join parliament... Cant we go back to 1947 and what MA Jinnah envisaged, instead of the sham we have created..
Good luck paa jee
instead of SUV's they should have come in Punjab's transport, a 'Tanga'. Show off''s.
Good job PML N. And for those who will criticize PTI, they too have nominated Suraj Singh for the KPK assembly.
Very positive signs of healthy democracy in Pakistan.