At Hindu temple, PM Nawaz reaches out to minorities

Published: January 11, 2017
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Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif attends a ceremony at 900-year-old Katas Raj temples, one of the holiest sites for Hindus, in district Chakwal, Katas Raj, January 11, 2017. PHOTO: REUTERS

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif attends a ceremony at 900-year-old Katas Raj temples, one of the holiest sites for Hindus, in district Chakwal, Katas Raj, January 11, 2017. PHOTO: REUTERS

KATAS: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Wednesday inaugurated the restoration of an ancient Hindu temple complex in Punjab, a symbolic gesture that may appeal to the Muslim nation’s minority communities and soften the country’s image abroad.

Sharif’s visit to the 900-year-old Katas Raj temples, one of the holiest sites in South Asia for Hindus, comes at a time when relations with country’s Hindu-majority neighbour India are at a low ebb and show few signs of improving.

“In my personal view, we are all are equal – Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, Christians – and people belonging to other religions; we are all one,” PM Nawaz said after a Hindu ritual was performed at the temples, located in the village of Katas some 110km south of the Islamabad.

At the ceremony, attended by senior Christian, Sikh and Hindu leaders, Nawaz chastised hardline scholars who use “strange interpretations” of Islam to preach hate against other religions. “I believe this is not lawful.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is briefed by a minority official during his visit to the 900-year-old Katas Raj temples in district Chakwal. PHOTO: REUTERS

No one should try to teach this sort of lesson, nor should anyone heed such lessons,” the PM said.

We want minorities to lead their lives in harmony: PM Nawaz

Critics say the government has not done enough to tackle hardline religious groups inside Pakistan, including some with militant links, and accuse members of the ruling PML-N of maintaining links with sectarian hardliners.

Elections next year

Political analysts say prime minister’s visit to the Katas Raj temples was part of an effort to reach out to minority groups ahead of a general election scheduled for 2018, and would also appeal to more liberal, urban voters in the country.

Non-Muslims make up only about three per cent of the 190 million population, but they are clustered and their votes could swing some seats in the provinces of Punjab and Sindh.

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Reader Comments (9)

  • Lumdheeng
    Jan 11, 2017 - 3:07PM

    “Pakistan will soon be known as minority-friendly country, claims PM” when NO minorities will be left anymore.Recommend

  • rich
    Jan 11, 2017 - 3:19PM

    salut to him from india

    i always maintained if nawaz saab had total power in foreign policies, india pakistan would have been on friendlier terms

    richieRecommend

  • Asad Hasan
    Jan 11, 2017 - 3:55PM

    The PM should be careful in making leading statements, if he wants his words to be taken seriously!Recommend

  • BlackHat
    Jan 11, 2017 - 4:04PM

    Ofcourse!

    BTW, what is the name of his party? That name made some sense, if at all, in the context of British India. In an Islamic Republic? If his party was called Pakistan National Congress, his words would have carried some weight.Recommend

  • Farooq
    Jan 11, 2017 - 4:14PM
  • Bharatiya Australian
    Jan 11, 2017 - 5:11PM

    Some Hindu minorities and Ahmadis are left to be preserved in museums being endangered species.

    So what PM commented must be visible to him soon to happen as no minorities will be left anyway.Recommend

  • Dr. Mohamed Boodhun
    Jan 11, 2017 - 5:53PM

    [61:3] O ye who believe! why do you say what you do not do?

    [61:4] Most hateful is it in the sight of Allah that you say what you do not do.

    The Anti Ahmadiyya laws will always bear witness against your LIES.Recommend

  • Bharat
    Jan 12, 2017 - 7:25AM

    @Bharatiya Australian
    The minority hindu population of Pakistan has gron from 25% in 1950 to now around 32%
    .
    There are many Muslims converting to HinduismRecommend

  • Ameer Qaisrani
    Jan 12, 2017 - 12:36PM

    First remove Anti-Ahmadiyya laws and then make such talk Mr. Nawaz SharifRecommend

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