Govt committed to welfare of minorities: Pakistani PM

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  1. ejazr

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    Oct 8, 2009
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    Govt committed to welfare of minorities: PM | Pakistan | DAWN.COM

    ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said on Tuesday that the government was committed to the welfare of minorities and had taken several steps in this regard.

    Addressing a function organised by the All Pakistan Minorities Alliance on the first death anniversary of Shahbaz Bhatti at the Convention Centre, the prime minister said that the reservation of four seats in the Senate and five per cent quota in government jobs for the minorities were some of the achievements of the government to ensure equal rights to them.

    He said Mr Bhatti had contributed a lot for the cause and rights of his people and his struggle for his community was memorable.

    Mr Gilani said it was also the contribution of Mr Bhatti to declare 11th August as the Minorities Day and the government had decided to hold religious functions on the day.

    He said Mr Bhatti was a great supporter of interfaith harmony, religious freedom, religious tolerance and equal rights for the minorities.

    “I also believe that with the message of interfaith harmony going across, we will be able to eliminate the impact of extremism successfully and emerge as a stronger and prosperous nation.”

    He said prayer rooms had been established in all prisons of the country and vernacular name of Christians was changed from Eisai to Masihi on the suggestion of Mr Bhatti.

    “I hope you will continue to contribute and promote national harmony to build a much stronger and more tolerant Pakistan, which should be our collective cherished goal.”

    The prime minister said: “I must appreciate the role of the scholars of different faiths who have consistently professed and practised the ideals of integrity and harmony within Pakistan.”

    He said the establishment of an egalitarian and a welfare society had always been the endeavour of the Pakistan People’s Party.

    “We have never compromised on these principles.”

    The prime minister said: “Today, the country is at a juncture where it is confronted with multi-dimensional threats of terrorism, extremism, and intolerance.”

    He said there was an urgent need to remove distrust and misunderstandings among the followers of different religions for fostering greater understanding, tolerance and respect for all.

    He said the government was fully committed to the sacred principles of peaceful co-existence, tolerance and equality to make Pakistan a shining example of interfaith harmony.

    He said the creation of the ministry of national harmony at the federal level was another step to promote harmony among different religions.

    The ministry had been mandated to actively engage in dialogue with scholars and leaders of all faiths to develop national policy, he added.

    Minister for Overseas Pakistanis Dr Farooq Sattar, Adviser to PM on National Harmony Dr Paul Bhatti, Senator Kamran Michael, Maulana Abdul Khabeer Azad, Bishop Alexander John Malik, representative of minorities from different parts of the country, besides Ambassador of Holy Sea to Pakistan, also spoke on the occasion.

    The Christian community conferred an ‘Award of Peace’ on the prime minister for the measures taken by the government for the welfare of Christians.

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