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Hindus, Sikhs To Get Parliament Seat

An Afghan Sikh in traditional dress (file photo)
Afghan President Hamid Karzai has issued a legislative order giving the country's Hindus and Sikhs a special seat in the lower house of parliament.

A statement on September 4 said Karzai told the cabinet to introduce the legislation within 30 days of the start of the next parliamentary session. The addition means the lower house will now have 250 seats.

The deputy chief of the Council of Hindus and Sikhs in Afghanistan, Rawil Singh, called the move a “good first step,” but said the government should also consider other issues, among them “security of religious sites.”

Karzai's move comes after lawmakers refused to include in the law a requirement for a special seat for Hindus and Sikhs. According to officials, some 700 Hindu and Sikh families live in Afghanistan.

Based on reporting by AP and dpa