Pakistani Christians boycott elections over 'religious apartheid'

 The Catholic commission for justice and peace in Pakistan called for a boycott of local council elections on Friday. They are protesting against a voting system which gives only a small quota of seats to non-Muslims. 75 per cent of seats reserved for non-Muslims remained unfilled after a similar boycott last year. The next poll is due to be held in more than twenty districts in March. Christian groups, representing the largest religious minority in Pakistan, are calling for an end to separate electorates. They say that the founder of Pakistan, Mohammad Ali Jinnah, promised equal status to all citizens during his first policy speech in Pakistan's Constituent Assembly at the time of the partition of the subcontinent. Mr Jinnah declared that religion was a matter of personal faith, which had nothing to do with the business of the state.

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