KATAS RAJ: In an effort to reach out to minorities, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Wednesday said that safeguarding rights of religious minorities in the country would be ensured and every effort would be made to give them due status in society.
Inaugurating the restoration of the ancient Katas Raj Temple, he said that humanity was the greatest religion of all and no one was permitted to discriminate on the basis of caste, colour and creed.
“I am the prime minister of all Pakistanis, be it a Muslim, Hindu, Sikh, Christian or any other, you all are equal,” he said, adding that taking care of all the country’s citizens without any discrimination was his religious obligation.
He said Islam in particular forbade anyone from calling bad names to other religions and their places of worship.
The premier began his speech with “Salam, Namaste, Satt Sri Akaal and good morning to all my brothers belonging to different religions,” to receive a cheerful applause from the audience.
Nawaz Sharif said the multi-faith gathering was reflective of interfaith harmony in the country.
While everyone was free to pursue his particular religions, they all had a common objective of taking care of the humanity, he added.
“We have to work together in unity to build Pakistan and strive for humanitarian causes,” the premier said.
He stated that in earlier days of Islam, Muslims being a minority had to face a very tough time and were forced to go into exile, however on their return from Madina becoming a majority, they took good care of people believing in other faiths.
The premier stressed that it was the moral responsibility of all to keep divine scriptures and religious books in high esteem and regretted that some religious leaders fanned sentiments of hatred among people in sheer misinterpretation of Islam.
Without naming anyone Nawaz said that Islam also forbade people from levelling baseless allegations against others with a malicious intent. Such negative trends, he added, were “harming the society and detrimental to progress and development”.
MNA Asfandyar Bhandara lauded the government for taking practical steps to safeguard the religious property of the minorities.
He said the number of visitors from India had risen from 1,500 to 2,500 annually. The minority community, he added, stood with the government.
Bishop Pakistan Alexander John Malik said the premier’s vision for Pakistan was laudable and the minorities were happy that he had taken along all the minorities in the development and progress of the country.
Sardar Tara Singh also praised the government for the upkeep of the Gurdawaras.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 12th, 2017.
Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.
For more information, please see our Comments FAQ