“It is a great failure of Pakistan’s state, government, intellectuals, and political elite that, from the inception of Pakistan to this day, they have not been able to establish an inclusive system that could ensure political and social rights for Pakistan’s religious minorities according to their marginalization in Pakistan. There is no such democratic system that could make the religious minorities feel secure politically and enable them to contribute to the establishment of a democratic and just society in the country.
However, the same ruling classes that are responsible for this are also responsible for imposing various electoral systems on the minorities at different times, and the religious workers/leaders who are responsible for maintaining the social, political, and religious traditions of the religious minority citizens affected directly or indirectly by these systems, also bear responsibility. They never presented their demands according to the necessities and conditions of the Pakistani nation and its religious groups, which have specific social and political movements.”
My companions and I have demanded the implementation of the double vote system with complete determination, based on ten years of rigorous research in combination with the analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of these systems and the facts and evidence regarding them.
This three-point demand serves to provide a broader understanding in the interest of nation in the larger scheme of things for the country, nation, and minorities with constitutional justifications, facts, and evidence.
Here are the detailed 3 POINT DEMANDS OF DOUBLE VOTE BY TEHREEK-E-SHANAKHT FOR THE RELIGIOUS MINORITIES OF PAKISTAN. Why is double vote indispensable for Pakistan’s religious minorities and how is it possible?
Let’s find the answer to these questions through the electoral systems designed for Pakistani religious minorities in the past and present and the available data and ground realities related to this question. According to the commission, the total number of votes of religious minorities across Pakistan is 3956336, in which the votes of Hindu voters are 2073983, Christians are 1703288 and other minorities are 174165. (It is surprising that in March 2018, Hindu voters were 1777289, Christian voters were 1638748, thus Christian voters were 138541 less than Hindus, but now Christian voters are 370695 less than Hindu voters). According to recent data, the total number of votes in Sindh includes 2217141 of religious minorities out of which Hindu voters are 1936749, Christian voters are 254731, while the number of other voters are 25661.
In Punjab, total minority voters are 1641838, of which Christian voters are 1399468, Hindu voters are 103658 and other minority voters are 138709. In Baluchistan, the total number of minority voters is 51245 of which Hindu voters are 28551, Christian voters are 20761 and other minority voters are 1933. Total minority voters in KPK include 46115 Christian voters, 33328 Hindu voters 5025 and other minority voters are 7762. Total minority voters in Islamabad include 41977 of which Christian voters are 38744 of other minorities voters include 3233.
There exists a lot of ambiguity regarding the population of religious minorities in Pakistan. You can take an idea from the past and present data. The figures of the 1951 census in Pakistan are as follows. There were 432,706 Christians, 369,831 Hindu Scheduled Castes, and 160,664 Hindu jaati. The total Hindu population was 530,495. The total Hindu population was 97,789 more than the Christian population. In the 1961 census, the population of Christians was 583884.
Hindu Scheduled caste was 418011, Hindu jaati 203794. Total Hindu population was 621805. The total Hindu population was 37,921 more than the Christian population. In the 1972 census, there were 907,861 Christians, 603,369 Hindu Scheduled Castes and 296,837 Hindu jaati. Total Hindu population was 900206. The total Hindu population was 7655 less than the population of Christians. In the 1981 census, Christians were 1310426 in this census, there was no slot for scheduled caste and the Hindu jaati population was 1276116. In 1981, the Hindu population was 34,310 less than the Christian population. In the 1998 census, there were 2092902 Christians, 2111271 Hindus, 332342 Hindu Scheduled Castes, and 2443614 total Hindu population.
And the Christian population fell short of the Hindu population by 350,712. On the other hand, there are 2642048 Christians, 3595256 Hindu jaati and 849614 Hindu scheduled castes in the 2017 population census. In this most controversial population census in the history of Pakistan, the total Hindu population has become 4444870 which is 1802822 more than the Christian population. In 1951, the Hindu Scheduled Caste population was 209,167 more than the Hindu jaati population. By 1961, the Hindu Scheduled Caste population was 214,217 which was more than the Hindu jaati population in 1951. In 1972, the Hindu Scheduled Caste population was 306,532 more than the Hindu jaati caste population.
In the 1981 census, there was no column for the Hindu Scheduled Caste population and then in 1998, the Hindu jaati population was 1,826,059 more than the Hindu Scheduled Caste population. What happened to the ratio of the Hindu Scheduled Caste population to the Hindu jaati population? And why did this slot disappear in 1981 and how did the Hindu scheduled caste in 1998, which was much more than Hindu Jaati in 1951, 1961, 1972, suddenly become so less? And then in 2017, the population of Hindu Jaati became 3595256.
Although the Hindu Scheduled Caste and especially the Christian population has decreased surprisingly from the results of the last five censuses. Along with these facts, it will also remain a part of history that at the time when there was a dramatic decline in the Christian population and a sharp increase in the Hindu population, the Minister of Statistics was a Christian while the Chairman of the Standing Committee on Statistics of the National Assembly was a Hindu and both belonged to Muslim League-N.
Which community has benefited out of it and which has suffered is left to the readers to decide. Despite this, the question arises as to why this happened and how it happened? Only the government of that time and the institutions that keep population records of the state of Pakistan can answer these questions. Only the social and political leaders of the Christian and Hindu Scheduled caste groups are responsible for this. Hindu Scheduled Castes and Christians have one thing in common, that they have a lot of political parties and social organizations and NGOs. But they pay less attention to the potential issues.
These figures demonstrate why Pakistan’s religious minorities are not satisfied with their population statistics. According to previous available figures. The 2017 census population of Christians, should have been 3,738,323. But on the contrary, it became 2642048. It implies that, from the documents of the Ministry of Statistics, 1096275, about 1.1 million (11 lakhs) living people disappeared, while in these 17 years, no such factors came to light, such as mass genocide or mass migration of millions of people. The statistics of Hindu Scheduled castes are displaying similar statistical tragedy. According to a careful estimate, the population of minorities in Pakistan should be around 9 million at this time.
Due to the most controversial population census in the history of Pakistan, according to 2017, the number of minorities in Pakistan is 7321908, while the Election Commission data of August 2022 the number of minority voters is 4112761. While the ratio of vote to population in Pakistan is almost half. As per this calculation, the population of minorities should be 8225522. According to the research of some non-governmental organizations, the total population of women is registered 10% less than the actual figure and if that 10% is included which is 822552, the actual figure would be 9048074.
However, as per the Election Commission of August 2022, 4,112,762 voters spread over 866 constituencies of such a population, on whose identity there are 38 representatives in the Houses, despite this, except those who benefit from this system, all of them consider themselves abandoned and political orphans and are not happy with the system. Fifteen times in elections in seventy-five years (3) experiments of three electoral systems were conducted on non-Muslim Pakistanis (5) five times. The details of which the selfless volunteers of Tehreek-e-Shanakht (the ideological movement) around the world are spreading awareness through books, booklets, National and community newspapers, magazines, pamphlets, posters, video clips, TV interviews, and other sources, since a decade.
Looking at the experiences of these seventy five years and the ground realities of social, political and democratic conditions of Pakistan, the result is that is if the non-Muslim Pakistanis have to be represented in the Houses on their religious identity and they have to be included in the national stream, which is their basic human civil and political right, So they should be given the right to double vote by amending the constitution. Because the possibilities of getting representation on religious identity through the mixed election are very rare and similarly through the separate electoral system they are excluded from the National politics and society.
In the past, due to the separate electoral system the minorities of Pakistan become socially untouchable and political Shudras by being cut off from the national stream. Whereas despite the present dual representation with proportional representation, they are dissatisfied with their religious representatives in the houses, considering them as the representatives of a few political party leaders and not their own.
Therefore, just as the fourth constitutional amendment was made on 21 November 1975, after learning from the experiences from 1947 to 1970, the then electoral system was changed in 2002 after learning from the experience of 1985 to 1997. In the same way, after learning from this evolutionary journey for 75 years, double votes are given to dual representation by harmless constitutional amendments in this electoral system. This constitutional amendment is the demand of Pakistan’s religious minorities and is also a requirement of Article 226 of the Constitution of Pakistan. This will certainly help in strengthening the country and the nation and increase the prestige of the country in the international community.
With the answer to the second part of this question, the political, social and religious workers who strive for a transparent and fair electoral system through double voting for the religious minorities of Pakistan. Tehreek-e-Shanakht requests you for that the revolution in the existing electoral system of the minorities and the demand for double vote for the religious minorities. For this it should focus on three point demands of Tehreek-e-Shanakht:
1. The right of every non-Muslim citizen to vote and contest general elections at the national, provincial, district, tehsil and UC levels in every constituency of Pakistan shall be preserved. In 2001, with the same idea, the dual representation system was restored to ensure the representation of each religious minority in the Houses, but with this positive side of this electoral system, its dark side is that the religious minorities’ right to choose one’s representatives based on religious identity has been denied.
2. The basic formula for the second religious identity vote will be the same one that has been tried five times from 1985 to 1997. However, the second part connected with this system was very dangerous, which made the religious minorities untouchable and political Shudra by cutting them off from national politics, society, and National mainstream.
3. It should be ensured that the minorities from each federal unit are represented in the Senate, National and Provincial Assemblies, for which the constituencies are in Punjab where there are Christians and in Sindh where there is an adequate population of Hindus. There can be small and big national and provincial constituencies. But in the federal units such as Baluchistan, KPK and Islamabad where the number of minority population is much less than the number required for representation. There, on the basis of this paragraph of the preamble of the constitution, minority representation should be ensured on religious identity.
“Wherein adequate provision shall be made to safeguard the legitimate interests of minorities and backward and depressed classes.”
With this formula, it will be ensured that the minorities are represented by every unit of the federation. This harmless constitutional amendment will not conflict with the interests of any political party or group and it will also be a guarantee for the stability of the country and the nation.
By extending the demand for double vote, the axis and center of three points, it will be made sure that the religious minorities of Pakistan have national representation from every constituency of Pakistan and representation in national and provincial assemblies on religious identity from every federal unit. Understand this demand and try for it with the belief that this harmless constitutional amendment will not conflict with the interests of any political party, group or state or government. Keeping these points in mind, along with the four provinces, the minorities from Islamabad should also be represented in the Senate and the National Assembly by which the number of minority centers will be 5.
The number of National Assembly seats for minorities should be increased from 10 to 19. The description of which is as follows. An average MNA for the National Assembly from Punjab is formed from a constituency of 504,274 votes. According to which about 3 members of the National Assembly constituencies of Christians can be made. But owing to the guidance given in the constitution, 5 seats of Christians and one seat of Hindus and one seat of all other minorities should be reserved, so that for the minorities of Punjab, 7 seats of National Assembly can be made from this. In order to execute this, there will be 5 small and big constituencies for Christians and the whole of Punjab for Hindus and other minorities.
While in Punjab, a member of the provincial assembly is elected by 239403 votes. According to this calculation, about 6 members of the Christian community can become the provincial assembly members, but in the spirit of the constitutional concession, 1399468 votes can be divided into small constituencies and given 8 seats. One seat for Hindus and one for the other minorities can be reserved by making the entire province a constituency, which will increase the total number of minority members in the Punjab Assembly to 10.
Islamabad 312760, KPK 4736949, and 323055 average votes elect a member of National Assembly from Baluchistan. While the number of minority votes is very less than the required votes in these federal units and the capital. Therefore, all the minorities from these units should have one seat in the National Assembly. A provincial member from Baluchistan is elected by an average of 101429 votes and a member of the provincial assembly from KPK is elected by an average of 186996 votes. The total number of minority voters in these federal units (listed above) is also much less than this standard. But thanks to the constitutional exception, one seat for Christians, one seat for Hindus and one seat for other minorities can be given to the entire province by making it a constituency.
Whereas, in the KPK-Baluchistan formula, three provincial seats and one additional seat can be reserved for the Kailash community, a minority with a completely unique identity in terms of geography, faith and culture of Pakistan. It should be remembered that four provincial seats are reserved for minorities (4) from KPK. (But it is at the discretion of the national level party leaders if they want to give all the seats to a single minority).
A National Assembly seat in Sindh consists of a constituency of 429,953 votes on an average. In this way, the number of votes of Hindus is 4 and a half seats by this standard. But in the spirit of the constitution, they can be divided into 7 seats by giving concession. And for Christians, a constituency can be made for a National Assembly seat from Sindh province as the number of votes of Christians is less than the required number. In spite of the fact that the number of other minorities is also very small, in order to ensure the representation of all these minorities in an important federal unit like Sindh, the entire province should be made into a constituency and given a National Assembly seat, from which the total seats of the National Assembly will be taken from Sindh. So the total number of National Assembly seats for minorities, by this formula will be 9.
In the Sindh Assembly, on average, one member of the Provincial Assembly is elected from a constituency of 188,684 votes. According to this calculation, there are 11 seats except 1,936,749 votes of Sindh, which should be divided into small constituencies of 13 seats and the votes of Christians who are less than two seats, they should be given one seat for Karachi and one seat for the rest of Sindh, that is, two constituencies should be made, and due to the very small number of other minorities, they should be given one seat for the entire province. Similarly, the number of minority members of the Provincial Assembly from Sindh will increase to 16. Thus, a total of 5 senators, 19 MNAs and 33 MPAs will be combined, and the number will be 57. The details are as follows. One minority seat in the National Assembly from Islamabad, KPK and Baluchistan, Punjab.
There will be 7 members from the National Assembly and 9 from Sindh. There will be 16 seats of Provincial Assembly from Baluchistan, 3 from KPK and 4 members from Punjab and 10 from Sindh. It should be remembered that this constitution is possible only in view of the concession given to the weaker sections of Pakistan, otherwise according to the official number of minority votes, the current number of 38 is even higher. You can contact any one of the volunteers that are spread across the world for your ideological support and guidance.
Long live the ideological movement…. Long live Pakistan!
Azam Mairaj is a renowned scholar, professional, author who founded tehreek-e- shanakht and has written 4 books on Pakistan Real Estate Industry and15 to integrate the Pakistani Christians in Pakistani society.