Lahore (PR): This is the right time to take tangible steps to build social cohesion and harmony between Muslims and minorities. For this purpose, political parties should give tickets to minority candidates in the upcoming general elections of 2018.

This was crux of a consultative workshop, which was held at a hotel here on Tuesday. Pattan Development Organisation had organised the workshop to highlight issues of minorities and a way forward for social unity in the country.  “Religious minorities demand direct elections for their representation as the minority concentrated areas are divided across constituencies and quota seats filled through undemocratic means both in local and general elections. The minority representation has declined in the assemblies as to the ratio of the total seats since 2002. However there is a high range of minority votes in 98 National Assembly constituencies in Pakistan so it was suggested that such constituencies should be declared as multi member constituencies. It was unanimously agreed that minorities’ participation in the political and electoral processes is key to solution of their issues.

The participants of the event appreciated the initiative. Parliamentarians, CSOs, lawyers, local councillors, government officials, WCN, community representatives, religious leaders, think-tanks and media representatives were present at the consultation.