A Pakistani Member of the National Assembly (MNA) has submitted a bill and called on the House seeking to ensure that the countrys religious minorities are referred to and identified as non-Muslims.
Keeso Mal Keeal Das, from the opposition Pakistan Muslim LeagueNawaz (PML-N), also issued a notice to the National Assembly Secretariat for introducing a private member bill under rule 118 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the National Assembly, 2007.
The MNA argued that the Constitution discriminates against Pakistani non-Muslims by referring to them as minorities.
“Inaccurate reference gives the impression of being second-class citizens,” he maintained.
Keeal Das has suggested in the proposed bill that the act shall be called the Constitution Amendment Act, 2021, urging for it to be adopted and come into force immediately.
“It is against the spirit of the Constitution 1973, to discriminate against a large number of population by declaring them minority, when the sacrifices of that population are remarkable in every sphere of life of the prosperity, growth and bright future of the country,” he said in his arguments and reasoning of the bill.
“The word ‘minority’ is used for four times (in the Constitution) while the word ‘non-Muslims’ is used 15 times, which reflects the intent of the makers of the Constitution. Therefore, the anomaly shall be omitted by substituting the word minority’ with the word non-Muslims.
“This constitutional amendment will be a constructive effort to establish equality and justice for every citizen to build Pakistan as a home for everyone,” he added.
The government has for now expressed no reservations about the proposal, while the matter has been referred to the relevant standing committee.
The bill is expected to be presented before the lower house in the coming session.
Non-Muslim Pakistanis or minorities are in a large number in the country.
As per the sixth Population and Housing Census, the country’s population of minorities constitutes about 3.53 per cent, while Muslims account for 96.47 per cent.