LAHORE: Brushing aside the Pakistan Peoples Party’s warning of starting a protest movement after December 27, Khawaja Saad Rafique has said the government will decide the course of action when the threats materialise.
The railways minister was speaking during his visit to the Lahore railway station to welcome the one-of-a-kind Christmas Peace Train that arrived from Islamabad on Sunday.
Saad refused to answer any political questions asked by reporters but welcomed the return of former president Asif Ali Zardari to Pakistan. “I hope he will continue to live in the country among his people,” he said.
Regarding the PPP’s December 27 deadline to start protests on the Panamagate scandal if their four demands were not met, the minister said: “Let the day come and we will decide what to do, if at all there is a need.”
The Christmas Peace Train started its countrywide journey on December 22 in Islamabad and will conclude its journey on December 31 in Karachi. The train – a joint collaboration of Pakistan Railways, Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation and the Human Rights Ministry – will stop at all major stations to spread the message of peace, harmony and unity.
“This is the true face of our peaceful country, where all communities live in harmony,” Saad said at the station, where National Assembly Speaker Ayaz Sadiq, Cleric Maulana Abdul Khabir Azad and Rev Father Peace Centre Lahore Director James Channan were also present.
A total of five carriages with three turned into galleries and two open-top floats have been decorated with lights, buntings, a Christmas tree, Santa Claus and all symbols associated with the Christian community. The most thoughtful addition to the decoration is a display of pictures of heroes of Pakistan belonging to the minorities.
Speaker Ayaz Saddiq said the train was a historical initiative by the Pakistan Railways that would be made into a permanent feature in the coming years. “All communities have stood united against terrorism that tried to create rifts between the religious communities in Pakistan,” he added.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 26th, 2016.
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