05/29/2013, 00.00
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Islamabad: Islamist violence and economic crisis, the challenges facing next Parliament

by Jibran Khan
June 1st the new National Assembly meets. After taking the oath, the president and deputy will be chosen, followed by the appointment of the prime minister, called to form the new government. Lahore Priest: We pray for a real change in the country.

Islamabad (AsiaNews) - The energy crisis, an economy on its knees, soaring inflation, Islamic terrorism, sectarian violence and intolerance stratified at different levels in society. There are many challenges facing - and which must be resolved - by the new Pakistani Parliament, convened by President Asif Ali Zardari for the first session scheduled for June 1 next. The country is exhausted by macroeconomic problems. According to the Central Bank, these  can be addressed and resolved only if radical changes are made in terms of taxation and society. Experts say the picture is bleak and continuous attacks aimed at destabilizing the nation do not help to improve the situation and attract foreign investment.

The renewed Assembly was voted in the general election of May 11 last marking the victory of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz  (PML-N), after taking the oath the President, deputy and Speaker of the House will be elected. The process should be completed by June 3, the date by which also the new president and his or her deputy will be sworn in front of Parliament. Then the selection of the Prime Minister, which will close on June 5 with the entry into office of the new government.

10 non-Muslim personalities will sit also in the new Parliament, because the law in Article 51-2A reserves a small part of the seats for religious minorities. Four of these will go to the Christians, just as many to Hindus, one delegate to be chosen among Sikhs, Buddhists and Parsis: the last seat is reserved for Ahmadis - Sunni Islam sect considered heretical because it does not recognize Muhammad as the last prophet - which, however, have boycotted the vote in protest against increasing violence.

Speaking to AsiaNews Fr. George Joseph, a priest of the diocese of Lahore says he is "praying for the next government" and that Pakistanis "have great expectations" given the "serious challenges" it faces. "We appeal to divine wisdom - he adds - to guide our leaders, to witness a real change in the system, in the name of equality and justice for all."

Meanwhile, in the province of Sindh's interim government has formed a committee for minorities, called to protect their rights. It consists of leading personalities of the major religions, including the Archbishop Joseph Coutts, Bishop Sadiq Daniel, chairman of the Sikh Council Pakistan Sardar Ramesh, Parsis Deputy and the representative of the All Pakistan Hindu Panchayat.


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