• Taimur Chambers Plot # 10-D (WEST), Fazal-ul-Haq Rd, Islamabad
  • (+92) 51-2278134, (+92) 51-2278135
  • Taimur Chambers Plot # 10-D (WEST), Fazal-ul-Haq Rd, Islamabad
  • (+92) 51-2278134, (+92) 51-2278135

Non-Muslim Parliamentarians' Caucus (NMPC)

Duration: initiated in January 2015

Locale: Pakistan

Introduction:

In Pakistan, the non-Muslims comprise 5% of the entire population. They are vulnerable to internal and external shocks due to their marginal, social, political and economic status. The aggrieved situation demands an overhaul at the structural level hence it is important to strengthen the political inclusion of non-Muslims. However, the political participation of Non-Muslims stays a dilemma. Currently, there are around 25 non-Muslim legislators in national and provincial assemblies. Majority of them are Christian, Hindu, Sikh, and Parsi. Most of the non-Muslim parliamentarians get elected on reserved seats and are treated as minority. They hardly contribute meaningfully to the protection of rights of non-Muslim community even if elected as political representatives owing to two main reasons; firstly, those elected on special seats are forced to follow the party line and side with the majority group to retain their position and secondly, the low social development negatively influences the performance of some at a large-scale.

Pakistan's parliamentary history never had a caucus where non-Muslim Parliamentarians (NMP) could work together for the rights of religious minorities. It is believed that strengthening the political participation of NMPs will help alleviate the status of religious minorities in Pakistan. In order to improve the political, social and economic status of non-Muslims, there is a need to strengthen their role in political sphere. Considering this, Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI), with the support of United States Institute for Peace (USIP) established a Caucus for NMPs. Keeping in mind the low participation of non-Muslims, SDPI involves legislators in federal and provincial assemblies to create a critical mass both at provincial and national levels. The initiatives theory of change is based on helping parliamentarians contribute meaningfully through improved skills and knowledge and coming forth as one voice. The NMPs is provided with secretariat, research staff, and policy outreach support by SDPI. The secretariat is located at SDPI office, in Islamabad.

It is being deemed as a humble beginning towards a huge contribution to Pakistan's parliamentary history and improvement in the status of this vulnerable group.

Goal:
"Non-Muslim Parliamentary Caucus (NMPC)" is an initiative envisioned to promote the notion of co-existence and collectiveness by eradicating structural discrimination against non-Muslims and promoting non-Muslim friendly legislations in Pakistan.

Objectives:

  • To enhance the role of Non-Muslim Parliamentarians in advocating and supporting Non-Muslim sensitive legislations in the parliament thus underscoring issues that concern Non-Muslims in social and economic life.
  • To conduct evidence based legislation drafting with the help of policy research
  • To give collective voice to the Non-Muslims in Pakistan in order to improve their socio-economic situation of in Pakistan

Advisory Council of Non-Muslim Parliamentarians' Caucus:

The Advisory Council (AC) of Non-Muslim Parliamentarians' Caucus (NMPC) has been formed to provide technical support to the caucus. It serves as a platform to bring together active voices on minority rights at one place to get tangible results. The collective voice of academia, civil society, and media from one platform helps give direction to the efforts to secure rights of non-Muslims and emancipate them especially at the structural level. The AC also observes the social and policy landscape to better inform the NMPC action.

For more details: Shakeel Ahmed Ramay at sramay@sdpi.org