LAHORE - The minorities yesterday staged a demonstration against the Punjab government for passing a ‘discriminatory law’ of Local Bodies Act, 2015, in front of provincial assembly on The Mall.

Christians, among the minorities, showed strong reaction over the bill which, they said, barred them from taking part in the local bodies’ elections as candidates.

The protesters blocked The Mall which caused huge traffic mess. They were holding banners and placards inscribed with the slogans against the government, especially against the leadership of the ruling party. They termed the bill ‘a discriminatory bill’ and against the fundamental rights.

The protesters were holding placards and banners inscribed with slogans against the government, especially against the leadership of the ruling party.

The protest continued for one and half hour which created huge traffic problems.

Christian Democratic Party (CDP) chairman Ben-Hur Yousaf Gill led the protest. He categorically said that they "Boycott" discriminatory electoral system of local bodies’ election in Punjab.

He said there would be no credibility of local bodies’ election without the participation of Religious Minorities, especially Pakistani Christians.

There's no second opinion, local bodies election are basic democracy from where leadership is raised. In case of imposed "selection not election" on the reserved seats for Non-Muslim (Religious Minorities) in the local bodies election, our leadership is crushed in the outset. Ben-Hur said

He said current electoral system of local bodies is discriminatory, ineffective and grave violation of article 226 of the constitution of Pakistan, which says "All elections under the Constitution, other than those of the Prime Minister and the Chief Minister, shall be by secret ballot." Ben-Hur said.

"Current discriminatory local bodies’ election will create more political and social slaves because, so-called representatives of "Religious Minorities" will remain at the mercy of their political lords" Ben-Hur said.

The current electoral system of local bodies is also conflicted with the article 140/A of the constitution of Pakistan, which says "Each Province shall, by law, establish a local government system and devolve political, administrative and financial responsibility and authority to the elected representatives of the local governments."

He said its also grave violation of constitutional article 36 which says "The State shall safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of minorities, including their due representation in the Federal and Provincial services, he stated.

He stated that ill-intension and double standards of the rulers are evident from the fact that they have accepted former president Gen Musharraf’s Electoral System of "General Election" as it is; and have imposed it on the Non-Muslims (Religious Minorities) of Pakistan.

Whereas, they have rejected the Local Bodies Electoral System of Gen. Musharaf all together since they demanded election not selection on the reserved seats for Non-Muslim (Religious Minorities).

Christian Democratic Party demanded the Election Commission of Pakistan, Judiciary, the ruling political parties and all the concerned power corridors that Religious Minorities of the country be given their constitutional and political rights for elections according to article 226 of the constitution of Pakistan. The party said that they reserved the right to protest across the country if their demands are not met.