Prime Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif has reaffirmed the coalition government’s resolve for the betterment and welfare of the minorities and their fullest inclusion in the national life and development.
“I will also avail myself of this opportunity to call upon our brothers and sisters from all minority communities to keep playing their role for the promotion of an atmosphere of tolerance and mutual accommodation,” he said in a message on the National Day of Minorities being observed today.
The prime minister stressed that it was the only course which led to the achievement of their shared objective of promoting interfaith harmony and peace in our society.
“Pakistan belongs to its people without any discrimination of caste, creed, and colour,” he added.
He said the National Day of Minorities, which was being celebrated on the 11th August every year, served to highlight the contributions that the non-Muslim Pakistani citizens were making to the national development.
“This day we express our gratitude to our minority communities for their meritorious services for the uplift of the motherland. The day also reminds us of our constitutional, religious and political responsibility to protect their rights and freedoms,” he added.
The prime minister said Islam was a religion of peace, harmony and tolerance and according to the Holy Quran, there was no compulsion in the matters of religion.
He said this Quranic precept coupled with the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) provided a basis for the principle enunciated by Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah in his historic address to the nation on August 11, 1948.
“The freedom of religion and sanctity of the person and property of our minorities have further been statutorily formalized in our constitution,” he added.
The government, the prime minister said, stood committed to these obligations and officially celebrated August 11 to reiterate its resolve towards the achievement of the noble objective of building an inclusive society in line with the vision of the Quaid-e-Azam.
“The eradication of the causes and the mending of fault lines, which may lead to socio-religious exploitation, remain the corner stone of the government’s policies. The idea here is to enable and facilitate all segments of society, particularly our non-Muslim citizens, to take a full part in the national life,” he stressed.
The prime minister said the government was making efforts to make up for socio-economic deficiencies and ensure a level playing field for the minorities by such means as allocation of special quota at representative fora, in educational institutions and services. Besides, he said, dedicated financial support for the promotion and uplift of poorest segments of the minorities were also part of these measures.