PESHAWAR: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz MNA and Pakistan Hindu Council head Dr Ramesh Kumar Vankwani on Monday said the security of religious places of minorities in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa was insufficient and therefore, the provincial government should improve their security without delay.

Dr Ramesh told reporters at the Peshawar Press Club that he visited religious places of non-Muslims in different parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and found security measures for them to be inadequate.

“I spoke to the members of minority communities, who expressed reservations about security measures for their religious places and demanded their strict security,” he said.

The lawmaker said he had spoken to the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s lawmakers in detail about the issues of minorities in the province, including quota in government jobs.

“I will also meet the relevant people and officials in the province before updating the Supreme Court about it,” he said.

Dr Ramesh said the Constitution guaranteed protection of the minorities’ rights. He said it was unfortunate that the provincial government was not taking proper steps to address the issues of minorities, including the protection of their worship places and cemeteries, and therefore, members of minorities felt insecure.

“Security at religious places of minorities is insufficient and therefore, it should be improved, especially under the current uncertain situation,” he said.

The lawmaker said he would also visit other provinces to evaluate security measures at churches, temples, gurdwaras and other religious places. He said the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government had increased the quota for minorities in its jobs from one per cent to three per cent and that senior members of the government had assured him that it would be increased to five per cent.

Dr Ramesh said the government representatives had also assured him that Hindus would be given the possession of their property in Karak district. He said the relevant people also promised effective steps for the protection of religious places of minorities on priority basis.

Published in Dawn, January 20th, 2015

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