Elections are over and Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has finally won. Pakistan — and the world — is watching to see if Khan can deliver on his promises of reform. The shift from the Pakistan Muslim League — Nawaz (PML-N) is a step in the right direction as their years in power have been bitter for the country’s Christians. Who can forget the riots in Gojra in 2009, which resulted in the horrific murder of eight Christians who were burnt to death; or the attack on Joseph Colony in 2013, which took place after Sawan Masih, a Christian man, was accused of blasphemy despite no evidence. Instead of going after the mob who burned down the settlement, Masih was sentenced by the court to death, and he remains in prison. What about Asia Bibi, who was sentenced to death for blasphemy in 2010? Or the murders of Punjab governor Salman Taseer and minorities minister Shahbaz Bhatti after they spoke in support of her release? Despite one horrific crime after another, those in power did little to stem the tide of violence against Christians. Indeed, with such a poor track record on minority issues, there are few Christians in Pakistan sad to see the PML-N go. However, minorities are not ready to rejoice the arrival of Khan’s PTI. Read through his election agendas and victory speech and you will notice something is missing — Khan has not outlined a specific policy to deal with minorities, forcing people to read between the lines. He spoke of his desire to make Pakistan like Madina. Khan even said: “I wanted Pakistan to become the country that my leader Quaid I Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah had dreamed of.”Jinnah achieved Pakistan through a democratic struggle and believed in equality for all citizens. But without any concrete minority agenda, nor any consultation with minority leaders, confusion and worry remain.Minorities are left asking what the future holds for non-Muslims in the Naya Pakistan? Will Khan follow the Madina state model, a western welfare system, or make the country Quaid’s Pakistan, where religion or caste or creed had nothing to do with the business of the State. Despite one horrific crime after another, those in power did little to stem the tide of violence against Christians. Indeed, with such a poor track record on minority issues, there are few Christians in Pakistan sad to see the PML-N go I am sure Khan must have some plans in mind on this important issue, but it is important that he takes Pakistan’s minorities into confidence, to clear all the confusion and send them a clear sign that he is friend, not foe. His election comes at a critical time for minorities. Khan has promised major reforms, particularly in the areas of welfare and governance, and there are many minorities who have been hoping that his coming to power will indeed usher in a new, more equal, cleaner and fairer Pakistan for all. I, however, fear that it is expecting too much of Khan to think that he will bring in any significant changes for the country’s minorities. Instead, I fear that the equal rights that could elevate the country’s minorities from their current status as demonised second-class citizens is but a distant dream. So far, the only corner of Parliament that has been prepared to stick its neck out to any meaningful extent for minority rights has been the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP). This year was the first time that at least three candidates from the Hindu minority won seats in a general election — all three were from the PPP. And in March this year, two minority senators from the PPP were elected, Anwar Lal Din, a Christian from Karachi, and Krishna Kohli, the first Hindu Dalit woman. The party also has a good track record of speaking out on minority issues. I personally see the PPP as the best choice for the minorities of Pakistan and other parties should follow their approach. We must for now work with what we have and wait to see what Khan does about the minority situation in Pakistan. And we must continue to advocate for change. For one thing, the National Commission of Human Rights should be greatly strengthened, and the long-awaited national commission for minority rights ordered by the Supreme Court years ago should actually be set up. But as ever, those in power need to prove their commitment to a better Pakistan by turning promises into reality. There are always new opportunities when new parties come to power. Pakistan’s minorities will be watching and praying. Khan, please let their prayers not be in vain. The writer is a freelance columnist Published in Daily Times, August 3rd 2018.