President, PM renew pledge for equal rights to minorities

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Islamabad—President Mamnoon Hussain reiterated the resolve to provide equal rights to the people of all religions without any discrimination in the light of teachings of founding father Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah.
In a message in connection with the Minorities Day observed on Thursday, the President said in the light of golden principles of Quaid-e-Azam, the present government had undertaken extraordinary measures for the welfare of minorities which were a milestone.
‘Let us resolve on this day that we will intensify our efforts for religious harmony so that democratic values are promoted in our homeland and virtues of peace, tolerance and religious harmony could be nurtured in society,’ he added. The President said Quaid-e-Azam in his historical address in the first Constituent Assembly had stressed upon the equal rights to the followers of all religions in Pakistan.
The President said they celebrate August 11 as Minorities Day which has a special place in our national history. One of the reasons to celebrate Minorities Day was also to acknowledge their services in national life, he added. He said ‘The love of our Minority communities for the country and the passion to do something for it are exemplary and their active role in national mainstream is evident of it.’
Meanwhile, in a message, Prime Minister Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif on Thursday said that the incumbent government is concerned about ensuring equal rights for all minority communities in Pakistan. He said that ‘the observance of ‘Minorities Day’ is an occasion to recognize the role of minorities in nation building and renew our commitment to protect their rights and promote national harmony amongst the followers of diverse faiths.
He said that it is also time to remember the great sacrifices rendered by minorities living in Pakistan and to be sensitized to the problems and issues they face. He said that Minorities Day reminds all of us to reaffirm our solidarity for the betterment of humanity and a prosperous Pakistan. August 11 has a special significance in our national calendar.
It was on this day in 1947 when the Father of the Nation, Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, in his historic speech to the members of the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan, had laid down the foundations of a modern, tolerant and progressive Pakistan. The Quaid had said, ‘You are free; you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or to any other places of worship in this State of Pakistan.
You may belong to any religion or caste or creed that has nothing to do with the business of the State”, he added. Nawaz Sharif assured that present democratic Government is driven by the vision of the Quaid-e-Azam for protecting the rights of minorities as the recognition and respect for the rights of minorities is part of its Manifesto.
He said that the democratic government stands committed to ensure equal rights for all minority communities as enshrined in the Constitution of Pakistan and UN Declaration of Human Rights. It is our moral, religious and social obligation to strengthen the bond of brotherhood and promote the culture of tolerance in our country, he reiterated. Nawaz Sharif said that the objective of celebrating this day is to acknowledge the valuable contributions, highlight their rights and promote inter-faith harmony.
He stated that core principle for celebrating this day is to enable people of every faith live in peace as they choose and that it must be understood that the state belongs to every Pakistani; irrespective of religious affiliations and faiths. Pakistan is our motherland and it is the duty for all of us to help it advance and flourish, he said.—Agencies

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