ISLAMABAD: The government has decided to increase minorities’ seats in National Assembly to 14 from 10 under Article 51(4) of the Constitution of Pakistan, official sources told Business Recorder.
Under Article 36 of the Constitution, the State is obliged to safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of minorities. Presently, under Article 51(4) of the Constitution, 10 seats are reserved for the non-Muslims.
As regards seats for non-Muslims in Provincial Assemblies, under Article 106 of the Constitution, three seats are reserved in the Provincial Assembly of Balochistan, three in Khyber Pakhtunkhawa, eight in Punjab and nine seats in Sindh. There is persistent demand of the minorities that since their population has increased with the passage of time the reserved seats for them should be enhanced.
The sources said, a Bill was submitted to the Cabinet proposing amendment to Article 51(4) of the Constitution to enhance the seats of non-Muslims from 10 to 13.
The Cabinet in its meeting on July 11, 2012 accorded approval in principle and further constituted a committee comprising Minister for Law and Justice, Minster for Religious Affairs and Advisor to the Prime Minister on National Harmony to re-examine the issue based on the provincial ratio with respect to the non-Muslim population and report to the Cabinet.
The committee met in the office of the Minister for Law and Justice on 29.8.2012 and considered the proposal and recommended that the seats in the National Assembly may be increased from 10 to 14 and seats in Provincial Assemblies may be increased from 3 to 4 in Balochistan Assembly, 3 to 4 in Khyber Pakhtunkhawa Assembly, 8 to 10 in Punjab Assembly and 9 to 12 in Sindh Assembly.