PESHAWAR: The right to become a tribal elder and get a domicile in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas was widely appreciated by non-Muslims at a workshop. Recently lungis were awarded to four elders, adherents of other faiths, in Khyber Agency.
Social activists said such a move would help alleviate their problems. They also demanded protection of their properties. Organised by the South Asia Partnership Pakistan (SAP-PK) on Wednesday, the workshop was attended by Minister for Law Imtiaz Shahid and members of civil society organisations.
The participants hoped such actions would be implemented to ensure rights to non-Muslims; especially in the tribal areas. They demanded the government retrieve the properties of non-Muslims and also hand over those premises that were occupied in the name of heritage or grabbed by the land mafia.
Shahid said the PTI minister was taking keen interest in resolving all problems. “We are making efforts to ensure equal rights to all non-Muslims”. Flanked by officials of the law department, he said, “The Minority Property Protection Bill (MPPB) had already been passed by the provincial government and proved the latter’s sincerity.” He asked representatives of organisations to give more suggestions and proposals so the legislation can be effective in eliminating any deprivations faced by minorities.
SAP-PK Coordinator Nusrat Ara asked the minister to ensure legislation for freedom of expression for non-Muslims and take steps to stop early marriage. The organisation also demanded a 5% job quota in government departments and protection of their places of worship.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 16th, 2015.