NA favours declaring Holi, Dewali and Easter as holidays
Islamabad—Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid has said that public holidays are higher in Pakistan when compared with any other country of world, therefore, there is need to revisit the number of holidays. He was speaking in the National Assembly on Tuesday when the house passed a resolution urging the government to declare Holi, Dewali and Easter as closed holidays for minorities. The Information Minister, however, said he has no objections over the holidays on the religious festivals of minorities. “No discrimination is being meted out to the followers of different faiths,” he said, adding the people share their grief and happiness regardless of the religion they are practicing. The House also passed a resolution saying the government should take steps to formulate Umrah Policy to facilitate people, especially in the month of Ramzan and control exploitation by private operators.
Minister for Religious Affairs Sardar Muhammad Yusuf told the House that the government is already working to formulate Umrah Policy to facilitate the pilgrims. Millions of people visit Saudi Arabia every year to perform Umrah but on return from the holy land, they complain of the services provided to them by the private tour operators. Parliamentary Secretary for Interior Maryam Aurangzeb told the House that the government is taking a number of steps to strengthen border security on Pak-Afghan border. She said permit system for border crossing is being integrated with the NADRA database. She pointed out that a summary has been sent to the President for approval under which FIA rules will be applicable on border movement. She said blockage of CNICs issued to foreigners is also a step towards border security.
The members emphasized the need for strengthening security on Pak-Afghan border saying it is imperative to stop terror attacks, illegal border crossings and illegal trade. Responding to a calling attention notice regarding postponement of census scheduled to be held in March, 2016 and non-inclusion of column of disabled persons in the census form, Parliamentary Secretary for Finance Rana Muhammad Afzal Khan told the House that the census was delayed with the consent of provincial governments due to non-availability of armed forces personnel. Rana Afzal said the issue was discussed in detail in the meeting of Council of Common Interests last month.