Pakistani Christians protest Easter elections
by Shafique Khokhar

In the country shaken for months by political and economic tensions, the polls are set for 9 April in the provinces of Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. The Justice and Peace Commission of the Pakistani Church: "A denial of the right to vote. The date should be changed as soon as possible."

Lahore (AsiaNews) - The National Justice and Peace Commission - a body of the Catholic Church in Pakistan - has expressed serious reservations about the provincial elections set in the provinces of Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa for 9 April, Easter Day.

The decree indicating the vote was signed on 20 February by President Arif Alvi, a member of the Pti, Imran Khan's party. The vote in the two main provinces is a very delicate appointment given the political and economic crisis the country has been going through for some time.

After the announcement of the elections in Pakistan's two main provinces, the Christian minority expressed their concerns and reservations about the fact that the date of the elections falls on Easter Day, and the Christians appealed to the president to reconsider and announce another date instead of 9 April.

"Holding the elections on Easter Day," the Justice and Peace Commission argues, "would exclude the participation of a community that has played a fundamental role in the creation and building of Pakistan. It would therefore be a blatant denial of Christians' right to vote, which is guaranteed to every citizen by the Constitution of Pakistan. We trust that the relevant authorities will review the election date and change it accordingly."

Roheel Zafar Shahi, Secretary General of the Pakistan Minority Rights Commission, said that Muslims, Christians, Hindus, Sikhs and many other peoples live in Pakistan, but the government has become so blind that it has no respect for the religious holidays of other religions.

"Christians in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province strongly demand that the election date be changed as soon as possible so that Christians can also exercise their right to vote in the elections. After consulting our lawyers, we will file a petition against this election date in the Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa High Court," he added.