New Delhi: Keeso Mal Kheeal Das, a Hindu lawmaker in Pakistan on Friday (May 28) submitted a bill in the lower house of Parliament that called for religious minorities to be classified as ‘non-Muslims’ to end the discrimination and establish equality and justice for every citizen. Das, who is a member of the National Assembly from the Opposition Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) submitted a private member bill under the rule 118 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the National Assembly, 2007.
“It is against the spirit of the Constitution, 1973, to discriminate against a large number of population by declaring them a minority, when the sacrifices of that population are remarkable in every sphere of life for the prosperity, growth and bright future of the country,” Das said in the bill.
“The word ‘Minority’ is used 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,” he said.
He said that this amendment will go a long way in establish equality and justice for every citizen to build Pakistan as a home for everyone.
Non Muslims form 3.5 per cent of the total population of Pakistan which is 220 million.
Hindus are the largest group in the minority and predominantly live in the Sindh province in Pakistan.
However, minorities in the country have often complained of harassment with girls from the community being kidnapped and converted to Islam by force.
Other minority communities are Christians, Baha’is, Sikhs, Parsis and Buddhists and Ahmadis who are considered to be non Muslims by the a larger Muslim society and have been victims of discrimination and violent attacks in recent years.
With inputs from PTI