Lone Christian entering Sindh assembly

PPP has worked to include poor, underrepresented and competent minority electables in its candidate pool

In the 2018 General Elections Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) awarded a ticket to Dr. Mahesh Kumar Malani for a general seat for the National Assembly from Thar; which he subsequently won. Mr. Gianchand Essrani and Mr Hari Ram also won general seats in the Sindh Assembly. Dr. Mahesh Kumar and Mr Gianchand were elected from Thar and Thano Bola Khan where their communities were in majority, whereas Mr Hari Ram won from Mirpurkhas which has an 80 percent Muslim majority.

Similarly PPP has worked to include poor, underrepresented and competent minority electables in its candidate pool. In the March 2018 Senate elections, PPP awarded a ticket to Christian Anwar Lal Din from Karachi, and Krishna Kohli a female Hindi candidate from Thar. Both belonged to poverty stricken, obscure regions which had previously received little attention from their Muslim representatives. Similarly a Provincial Assembly ticket has been awarded to Tanzeela Qambrani from the Hosho Sheedi clan, in 2018. Moreover Anthony Naveed a Catholic layman is the only Christian member of the Sindh Assembly, on PPP’s reserved seats, while other parties have choosen Hindu members for their reserved minority seats. Mr Naveed Anthony thanked his party chairman for entrusting him with the responsibility to represent PPP in the Sindh Assembly, while speaking at St.Peter’s Church in Karachi. He went on to say that ‘I am grateful to God for having given me the opportunity to serve Pakistan and the Christian Community. I have served this church since I was a young man, and today as a Catholic I am serving as a member of the Provincial Assembly’.

MPA Anthony Naveed graduated with a degree in political science, worked in the People’s Student Federation, and the student wing of PPP in Karachi. In 2005 he was elected in the Union Council of Jamshed Town, Karachi and remained a member till 2010. Later on he was appointed as a special assistant to the Sindh Chief Minister, Syed Murad Ali Shah in, 2016.

‘I am grateful to God for having given me the opportunity to serve Pakistan and the Christian Community. I have served this church since I was a young man, and today as a Catholic I am serving as a member of the Provincial Assembly’

Naveed stated that he would focus on getting the minority quota for government jobs increased to five percent, as well work on reserving more minority seats in universities. He further said that he will focus on the vision of Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto, and dedicate himself to the service of the poor and minorities. According to him minorities faced many challenges in Pakistan such as the protection of their rights and blatant discrimination. He is glad to work for PPP whom he considers as the only party working towards the prosperity and protection of minorities.

Moreover I believe that Pakistan People’s Party has the most holistic vision for minorities, women and the less privileged citizens. This is evident in their success of garnering a majority in Sindh for the past three elections, consecutively.

The writer is MBBS doctor and MAS (Master in Health Services Management)

Published in Daily Times, August 13th 2018.