Addresses Interfaith Dewali Festival-2011 Government committed to ensure equal rights for minorities: Dr.Paul

Addresses Interfaith Dewali Festival-2011 Government committed to ensure equal rights for minorities: Dr.Paul

Islamabad: Adviser to Prime Minister for National Harmony, Dr. Paul Bhatti has said government stands committed to ensure equal rights for all minority communities as enshrined in Constitution of Pakistan and UN Declaration of Human Rights.

He expressed these views while addressing to the participants of the festival of Dewali being observed by the government at Pakistan National Arts Council.

The event is attended by the large number of people including federal ministers, parliamentarians, diplomats, dignitaries, community and religious leaders.

He said the government gives too much importance to the minorities that is why the Hindu minority’s festival of Dewali is being observed at official level as this festival of lights strengthens our resolve to follow the true ethical values.

It brings peace, prosperity, progress and happiness to all sections of the society and promotes goodwill among all communities, he added.

Dr Paul said, “May the festival of lights dispels darkness and gloom and bring joy, happiness and prosperity to the people of our country” and added: the festival signified the victory of good over evil and strengthened our resolve to follow true ethical values in our lives. “May the noble ideals of the festival usher in peace, prosperity and happiness in our lives”.

He said it is a festival in which all communities rejoice in amity and friendship and celebrate the solidarity of the nation.

“I also wish to reiterate our commitment to respect and uphold the UN resolution calling for interfaith harmony and the pledges made by the government to safeguard the rights of all minorities,” he added.

Advisor to Prime Minster, Dr. Paul Bhatti said minorities in Pakistan have suffered too much following unrest, terrorism and poverty in the country. Kashmir Issue, Afghan War, terrorism, unstable governments in the past, poverty and illiteracy have hit the minorities hard.

He said condition of religious minorities can be improved by promoting their rights, ensuring life safety, imparting education, providing legal support, security, real protection of the freedom and rights of citizenship through interfaith harmony dialogue.

“All this will be possible if democratic institutions are stabilized in Pakistan leading to create a society where peace, religious freedom, civil co-existence and human dignity are respected”, he added.

Talking about steps taken by the government for the minorities in Pakistan he said 4 seats have been reserved for minorities in Senate, 5 percent quota has been fixed in government jobs and 11 August has been declared as minority day.

Minorities’ protection bill will soon be tabled in the National Assembly to introduce Marriage Registration Act for Sikh, Hindu, Parsi and Bhai communities in the country, he added.

He said minority d-ay is declared in line with vision of Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah, which he enunciated during his address to the Members of Pakistan’s first Constituent Assembly on August 11, 1947.

The decision to celebrate minority’s day reflects the commitment of the government to social uplift, economic empowerment and removal of discriminatory actions against the minorities, he said.

The Adviser said that interfaith harmony is government’s top priority in the efforts to promote friendly relations between the Muslims and non-Muslims in the country that is why a separate Ministry has been established for the purpose.

Minorities are partners in development of Pakistan and are rendering valuable services in different fields of life including defence, education, health and social welfare, he added.

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