Call to promote dialogue for interfaith harmony


Speakers at a seminar on Thursday unanimously called for promotion of inter-religious and inter-culture dialogue to promote interfaith harmony in society. Addressing the participants of the concluding session of a leadership conference and worship programme held here, they said the interfaith dialogue was a must to bring peace and stability in the society. Speaking on the occasion, State Minister for National Harmony Akram Masih Gill said inter-religious and inter-culture dialogues were the need of the hour. Gill stressed for the need of holding seminars, events and meetings on interfaith dialogues to bring people of different beliefs closer to each other.
The minister renewed his commitment to draw the minorities in the mainstream of society saying that they had been playing a vital role in the development of Pakistan.
He said the government was committed to uplift the social and economic condition of the minorities by imparting them education and promoting interfaith harmony in the society. He said the government was trying its best to extent scholarships to minority students to help them get education from international institutions. He urged the students to contact his ministry to get updates on the matter. He said the amount for minority students’ scholarships had been increased from Rs 16 million to Rs 20 million. He said the government was trying to resolve the legal issues such as the registration of the marriages of certain minorities including Hindus, Sikhs and Bahais. He said a bill in that regard would soon be tabled in the National Assembly.
Gill said the government had taken many steps for the protection and promotion of minorities’ rights like the reservation of 5 percent quota in government services, four seats for minorities in the Senate, declaration of 11 August as the Minorities Day, observance of special holidays and celebration of the minorities’ festivals at the official level. He said the allocation of a quota for minorities in institutions such as armed services and judiciary would soon be ensured. He said special compartments had been allocated for minority jail inmates so they could perform their religious obligations in privacy. “Special interfaith committees have been formed in 124 districts in order to tackle any emergency situation involving minorities. These committees will work to improve relationship among people of different faiths,” he added. Eminent prayer leaders, scholars and religious leaders also addressed the seminar.