Islamabad - On the 71st independence day of the country, the Christian community residing in the federal city still struggles for its political rights, but is enthusiastic to celebrate the day, standing with the majority.
Shezan Daniel was elected as councillor on minority seat on the ticket of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) in the last local bodies elections from Union Council (UC) 28 of the federal capital.
After being elected from his community, his responsibilities for solving the problems of basic necessities in the France Colony of F-7, and other Kachi Abadis have increased.
There are approximately 60000 registered voters in the constituency of NA-53 Islamabad.
Daniel receives complaints of non-availability of water and power in different sub-sectors of the France colony, and takes measures to solve them in his capacity.
France colony, located on the Nullah passing from one of the posh sector (F-7) of the city reflects the wide gap between haves and haves not of the two social classes of the city.
Green and white national flags, with star and crescent printed in white, are not only hoisted on shopping malls, business centers, and government offices in the sector, but are also seen on small dilapidated homes built in the France colony.
“The Independence Day before the constitution of 1973 implementation was more acceptable for us, but later our rights were gradually confiscated,” said Daniel.
He believes that the Peoples Party founder Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto played a major role in marginalizing minorities in the community and different religious communities are paying the price of the amendment in form of social and political discrimination.
“No person from the minority can hold top public office in the country now, which is against the spirit of the promise Quad-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah promise made to us,” he said.
He said that despite a passage of 71 years, the Christian community is struggling for its political rights which are the first step towards achieving the social rights in the country.
“There is no election, we have been restricted for selection on the public representative forum with limited seats,” he said. He said the Christian community does have the vote to right but they still have not been given the property rights in the ‘Kachi Abadis’ of Islamabad by Capital Development Authority (CDA).
“Military dictator general Zia-ul-Haq relocated the communities and promised property rights but till now the CDA has failed in allotting 339 plots to the people residing here,” he said.
“But this discrimination and long walk to equal status does not reduce our love for this country and we are going to celebrate the day with zeal and zest,” said Daniel.
“Our love for the country does not diminish with losing a seat of NA, because we are not among those who labelled the founder of the nation ‘Kafir-e-Azam’ during movement of independence,” Daniel added.
Another inhabitant of the France colony, Chaudhry Maqsood , who fought for community’s rights since the first martial law was imposed in the country, believes that no one was sincere with monitories except Muhammad Ali Jinnah.
“We chose to live in Pakistan after partition believing Jinnah’s word, but after General Ayub’s martial law, our dark days began when we were deprived of our land in different areas as it was allocated to the military,” he said.
He said since then their rights have been confiscated and they have been pushed to live on Nullahs.
“But August 14 means a lot for us, because we exist with the existence of this country,” he said.
Maqsood said the white portion, crescent and star in national flag represent the religious minorities and it is impossible to eliminate them from the national flag. “But, there is a need to understand that we are equal to other humans,” said Maqsood.
For Maqsood, the biggest Independence Day will be the day when the shunned members of his community will get equal political and social status in the country.
“At least we should be given our property rights so that our next generations can live in peace,” he said.