Call to struggle against society discriminations

May 19, 2013 Off By Web Desk

KARACHI: Civil society should strive for legislation against discrimination because its efforts for laws like violence against women, sexual harassment at workplace and domestic violence have been passed.

This was stated by Karamat Ali, Executive Director of Pakistani Institute of Labour Education and Research PILER, while giving concluding remarks at a consultation meeting on ‘Religious Minority and Human Rights: Democratic Process and New Opportunities,’ organised by PILER on Saturday evening.

He said discrimination and acts like forced conversion of Hindu girls should be declared as crimes against humanity and legal action should be taken. “There is a need to mobilize Muslim poor so that they are not used against poor of minorities’ communities,” said Karamat Ali. He said there should be effective movement for promoting peace in the South Asia, especially between India and Pakistan.

He hoped the coming government will work for the regional peace. There should be a mechanism in the SAARC countries
for the minority rights. For this, he suggested there should be a minority’s charter and the people from each nation should demand equal rights from their governments.

He said there is complete inequality in the society; illiterate people are facing threats. A new government in Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa will be tough for the people because of formation of the government by rigid political parties. The same will be at the Centre. He feared that it will be tough atmosphere for the minority people in the future. He underlined the need for introduction of local government system and asked the rights activists to field their own representatives in the local government bodies. These people may put a little dent to the powerful landlords.

Former legislators Michel Javed, S Lal Ahuja, who is also Hindu Panchayat President and others also attended the meeting and shared their experiences. Michel Javed said on the polling day in Karachi minority candidates faced many difficulties. Not a single political party had given tickets to minority women on reserved seats for women, he said. He suggested fixing reserved seats for minority religious women, who may reach in assemblies, he said.

The other participants shared that in Tharparkar and Umerkot districts there are more than 40 percent votes of religious minority people but candidates from minorities faced a lot of problems during campaign. Their voters were stopped not to cast their votes. Certain landlords forcefully collected CNICs for stopping them from performing their right to vote, they remarked.

Earlier, Ms. Zeenat Hissam of PILER in her welcome speech appreciated the contribution of the activists and said there was need to come together frequently to make the voice of oppressed religious minorities stronger. Piler has also prepared a report after regional conference held in Karachi in April 2013 with recommendations, the participants contributed on the occasion, she said.

Ms Zeenia Shaukat of PILER also shared the recommendations of the regional conference. She explaining the recommendations said misuse of amplifier, loudspeakers for inciting hatred against religious minorities and calling mob for mob violence should be stopped. She told the audience that the agenda should be taken to South Asia level because there is similarity of issues facing the religious minorities.