KARACHI - Participants of a seminar organised under the aegis of Aurat Foundation, here Wednesday recommended sizable increase in the number of parliamentary seats reserved for non-Muslim citizens of the country.

Representatives of concerned government departments, provincial election commission, human rights commission and other NGOs along with active members of the country’s minority communities unanimously suggested need for direct election of the country’s non-Muslim citizens contending for national / provincial assemblies and local bodies instead of their selection by political parties they may necessarily be part of.

During the event held in coordination with Asia Foundation and Agency of Federal Republic of Germany, the participants also took exception to partial results announced recently regarding census 2017 and demanded that complaints of minority communities not covered in different parts of the country during the exercise must be urgently investigated and justice be done to them.

Five percent job qouta for non-Muslim citizens of the country, unanimously approved by the parliament, was urged to be implemented in actual letter and spirit with due consideration that no distinction is made in terms of area these citizens may belong to or religion they may be following or caste they may pertain to.

Strict and efficient enforcement of laws adopted by the parliament against forced and underage marriages was also demanded with provision for regular vigilance by concerned authorities so as to protect marginalized sections against high handedness of influential sections of the society.

National Database Regulatory Authority (NADRA) and parliamentarians were requested to facilitate needed registration of bonafide non-Muslim citizens of the country as they were reported to be facing difficulties in procurement of NICs.

Earlier, Syed Atif Mehmood of Aurat Foundation presented a detailed report regarding projects underway to create congenial political environment for minority communities of Pakistan with equal attention towards their social and economic empowerment.

Matters related to electoral reforms were also extensively deliberated upon on the occasion and it was agreed that all political parties of the country would be taken on board to help develop a broader consensus.