PM stresses interfaith dialogue


Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf on Saturday underlined the need for interfaith dialogue to promote peace, harmony and brotherhood in the society. Addressing a function held in connection with Christmas celebrations at Fatima Church, the premier urged the followers of all religions and faith to stand together and promote shared values of compassion, moderation, tolerance and love.
“Our government has proposed inter-faith dialogue as a long-term measure for achieving sustainable peace and harmony,” he added.
He said that some misguided elements had tried to sow seeds of suspicion and target religions and their teachings.”We cannot sit back and allow a few extremists to attack our shared values.”
The PM said that the way the entire civilised world came together and denounced the blasphemous caricatures of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) indicated that the followers of all great religions would not allow misguided elements to dictate their narrative.
Prime Minister Raja said, “We need to stand together and promote shared values of compassion, moderation and tolerance and love that is the real message of Islam.”
He said that all the minorities were part of Pakistan’s social fabric and “we value the contributions and services of minority communities in general and Christian community in particular in the development of the country”.
The premier said that the government was committed to the vision of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, PPP founder Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and slain PPP chairwoman Benazir Bhutto for an enlightened, moderate, progressive and tolerant Pakistan. He said that the constitution gave every individual the right to freely practice his or her religion.
In this connection, the government has taken landmark decisions, which include approval of increase of minority seats in the National Assembly from 10 to 14, while seats of minorities are being increased by one each in Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, two in Punjab and three in Sindh, he added.
He said that the government had also decided to reserve 5 percent quota in the federal government jobs for the minorities and reserved four seats for them in the Senate.
The PM said that the government also declared August 11 as National Minority Day, including observance of optional holiday and celebration of other religious festivals of minorities at official level. He said that a National Commission for Minorities had also been established.