MUMBAI, India – The president of Pakistan’s Catholic bishops’ conference is calling for the respect of religious minorities and the repeal of blasphemy laws ahead of parliamentary elections in the country. The elections, scheduled for February 8, are being closely watched as Pakistan faces political and economic turmoil. The president of the bishops’ conference, Bishop Samson Shukardin, emphasized the importance of Christians in the election results despite their small population. Shukardin stated that Christians should not be selected but elected, highlighting the need for their representation in political life. He also advocated for a double vote system where Christians vote for both individual candidates and parties. This strategic move could potentially sway the vote in areas with a significant Christian population. In addition to Christian representation, Shukardin urged candidates to address the concerns of religious minorities, including the repeal of discriminatory policies and blasphemy laws. The blasphemy laws in Pakistan have garnered criticism for allegedly targeting religious minorities. Shukardin also called attention to the concerns of the country’s youth, emphasizing their lack of voice and future. Despite these challenges, Shukardin affirmed that Christians in Pakistan enjoy religious freedom and recently celebrated the Christmas season with solemnity and security. As the nation prepares for the upcoming elections, Shukardin has been appointed to a government peace committee to address social conflicts.