KARACHI: We need to train representatives contesting the upcoming local bodies election, urged speakers at a consultation seminar on Tuesday.
The seminar was held on developing potential leadership and effective participation of minorities in local bodies election by the Minorities Development Initiative (MDI). The idea for the young and bright to come forward and resolve issues of their respective areas was also emphasised at the moot.
Pakistan Peoples Party Karachi division president Najmi Alam was of the view that change cannot be brought about unless the quota system for women and minorities is abolished. "Twenty-two per cent seats have been reserved for women while five per cent for minorities. According to him, the elected person cannot grow by any means until he steps into mainstream politics of his area. He added that it is time to get rid of the exclusive representation of Hindus or Christians and be part of the state's electoral process.
Emphasising the importance of the local government system, Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research executive director Karamat Ali said that the next time someone destroys the local government system, we should be proactive as citizens and protest against it. On minorities' representation, he said that every party should give one of their general seats to a member belonging to the minorities.
"Before we deal with the matter as to who should be elected, we need to train our young people for leadership," he said. He further added that even if they are not elected, these young people will turn out to be effective and influential for their neighbourhoods.
Malka Khan, the regional coordinator of Aurat Foundation, said as many as 36,600 women have represented their union councils in the past through the local government system. "Women in general face more issues when the system of neighbourhoods is dysfunctional" she said. She added that although only one seat has been reserved for women in every ward of a union council, women should come forward to contest on a general seat and find solutions for the issues of their areas.
MDI coordinator Anthony Naveed said that as minorities, it is high time that they get over the argument for rights and identity. "We need trained political workers who can work and fight for our cases on the political front," he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 16th, 2015.