PM appeals for equal rights to minorities

Nawaz points out that the country’s constitution does not allow citizens to be segregated on the basis of religion.

Our Correspondent December 22, 2013
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. PHOTO: AFP

LAHORE: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Saturday called upon his compatriots to uphold the rights of religious minorities and not renege on the promises of equality that Quaid-e-Azam made to them in 1947.

Speaking at a pre-Christmas event in Lahore, the prime minister recalled Quaid-e-Azam’s historic speech on August 11, 1947, in which he said he wanted the believers of other faiths to enjoy equal rights in Pakistan.

The prime minister also pointed out that the country’s constitution does not allow citizens to be segregated on the basis of religion.

“Not giving the minorities their due right is like negating the promise made by Quaid-e-Azam to minorities on behalf of the whole nation,” he said.

After partition the minorities made Pakistan their homeland. They have been and still are a part of the democratic and bureaucratic set-up of the country, and that the government is bound to protect the rights of minorities, asserted the prime minister.

The prime minister said that the teachings of Jesus Christ are not just for one religion but for the whole human civilisation. “Pakistan is home to a multi-cultural society irrespective of individual faith and ethnicity, but it is sad to see how a handful of people are creating misunderstandings among the citizens.”

Nawaz expressed firm resolve to block the way of all such elements. While condemning the attack on a church in Peshawar, he said that for these reprobates nothing is sacred — neither a mosque nor a church.  The prime minister invited the youth from all minority groups to come forward and participate in the recently launched youth business loan scheme with full confidence.

Punjab Governor Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar, Minister for Ports and Shipping Minister Senator Kamran Michael, Provincial Minister for Minorities Tahir Khalil Sindhu, Bishops of Lahore Irfan Jamil and Sebastian Shaw were among others who attended the ceremony.

Both the bishops showed solidarity with all the religions and thanked their Muslim brethren for extending help to the Christian community in every calamity. They thanked the prime minister for celebrating Christmas with them.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 22nd, 2013.


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