With Pakistan having faced plenty of criticism for its less-than-exemplary human rights record – highlighted most recently in the case of the Hindu migration scare – the prime minister defended the country in this regard.
Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf claimed on Monday that no country gives as much regard to human rights as Pakistan. Addressing a gathering at the Independence Day seminar, “Pehchaan Pakistan,” organised by the Express Media Group, the premier quoted a couplet that, he said, even a farmer in his village knew: “Raze a mosque, raze a temple, raze whatever can be razed, but do not raze anyone’s heart – God lives in hearts.”
The premier was of the opinion that it is the responsibility of the media to promote a positive image of Pakistan by showcasing the positive things that also take place in the country. “While the media portrays the masked face of a bomber, it should also show faces of people who spread positivity in Pakistan” he said. Premier Ashraf added that it is unfortunate that the world does not give Pakistan credit for its positive moves and only promotes a negative image.
The prime minister also urged the international community to endorse Pakistan’s efforts in eliminating negative aspects of society, specifically recent measures taken for women’s empowerment, poverty eradication, and immunisation.
Speaking on the importance of independence, the prime minister said that “Our identity is Pakistan – it has been like this since its formation and will remain till the end of times – there is no substitute.” He said that when people who move abroad die, their bodies are brought back to their native areas for burial.
Prime Minister Ashraf also said that freedom is attained through democracy and not force. He said that many freedom fighters took up militancy to fight for the cause of freedom, but could not succeed until they had the masses backing them.
At the end of his speech, the premier announced a reward of Rs1 million to Shafay Thobani for his achievement of becoming the world’s youngest Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS) and also appreciated Muhammad Mohsin Ali, resident of Hafizabad who secured first position in the B.A examinations of the University of Punjab. The Prime Minister termed his achievement as a gift to the nation on the eve of its independence.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 14th, 2012.