Guest / Limited Access /

Christians in Pakistan are waging a vigorous campaign against the Separate Electorate System (SES) which many church members believe imposes a form of religious apartheid on elections in the mainly Muslim nation.The election system, they claim, marginalizes them and other religious minorities by allowing to vote only for candidates of their own faith.Protestant and Catholic leaders are particularly concerned about proposals, known as the "Plan 2000" and the "Devolution Plan," which have been drawn up by the government of Pakistan and will allow elections on a non-party basis for local governing bodies at village level. While the church leaders do not condemn the main measures of the devolution plan, they claim that because it retains the SES, which the government had promised to abolish, it is a "counterfeit to basic democracy." The religious leaders made their criticisms in a statement released at a press conference on September 5 in Multan, in Punjab province. Bishop Victor John Mal, of the Church of Pakistan, said that the churches' rejection of the Devolution Plan was "prompted by government's decision to continue with the separate [religion-based] electorate" within village elections. The proposals were announced by the country's leader, General Pervez Musharraf, on August 14, the 53rd anniversary of the Pakistan's independence."So far nothing has done to redress our grievance. So, we keep protesting," Bishop Mal told ENI in a telephone interview.The press conference was part of the ecumenical campaign led by Christian Organizations for Social Action (COSAP), which is demanding the abolition of the SES.Churches throughout Pakistan observed Sunday, September 3 as a "day of prayer" for the abolition of SES and "for courage ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Tags:
Read These NextSee Our Latest
RecommendedHow the World's Top 10 Countries Search the Bible Differently
How the World's Top 10 Countries Search the Bible Differently
Are pastors preaching Paul too much and Old Testament too little? Leading Bible website analyzes top verses searched by millions worldwide.
TrendingIntroducing the Bible! Now with Less!
Introducing the Bible! Now with Less!
Delete the chapter and verse numbers. Kill all the notes. Make it one column. Make a million bucks.
Editor's PickWater Works: Why Baptism Is Essential
Water Works: Why Baptism Is Essential
Some churches say Baptism is optional, but the New Testament teaches it is integral to the life of faith.
Comments
Christianity Today
Pakistan's Christians Demand End to 'Religious Apartheid' at ...
hide thisAccess The Archives

In the Archives

September 2000

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.