ISLAMABAD: Lawmakers belonging to minorities demanded to amend the Constitution and make non-Muslims eligible for the slots of president and prime minister of the country.
“Although it will be almost impossible for any non-Muslim to become president or the prime minster of the country under the present circumstances, at least the Constitution should be made neutral in this regard,” Khalil George, member of the National Assembly, said on Thursday.
George was speaking on the floor of the House.
Khalil George, who belongs to the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, was of the view that a constitutional ban on non-Muslims barring them from becoming head of the state and chief executive was sending wrong message to minorities residing in the country.
“Non-Muslims think they are not equal citizens in Pakistan,” George said, adding that an amendment in the Constitution will send positive message to the minorities.
Endorsing the demand of his colleague, Pakistan People’s Party's (PPP) lawmaker Ramesh Lal said, constitutional restriction on non-Muslims is in violation of basic human rights and teachings of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah — the founder of Pakistan.
“Is there any doubt about the patriotism of non-Muslims,” Lal questioned. He went on to say that making them [minorities] ineligible for top slots creates a sense of deprivation among the minorities.
Asiya Nasir of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl also raised her voice in supported of the idea. She said “no one should have problem if non-Muslims are given right to become president and the prime minister of the country”.
She added: “This constitutional bar raises questions over the states’ behaviour towards a segment of the society.”
Asiya Nasir demanded to exclude the material from the curriculum containing controversial stuff against non-Muslims, saying that legislation should be made to stop forced conversions of non-Muslim girls.
“Strict action should be taken against elements involved in attacks on worship places of minorities,” she added.
Meanwhile, Lal Chan of the PPP demanded to make religious teachings of non-Muslims a part of school curriculum so that their “children can be taught according to [their] own faith”.