Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s message on the National Day of Minorities
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Thursday said the government was taking steps to mainstream minorities in the country by ensuring a level-playing field for them.
“The idea is to enable and facilitate all segments of society, particularly our non-Muslim citizens, to take a full part in the national life,” he said in a message on the National Day of Minorities.
PM Sharif said the government was taking steps to provide equal opportunities to minorities such as allocation of special quota at representative fora, and also in educational institutions and other services.
He mentioned other measures for the uplift of poor minorities including dedicated financial support for their emancipation.
He said mending the fault lines of socio-religious exploitation besides eradicating its causes was the cornerstone of the government’s policies.
The prime minister mentioned that National Day of Minorities, which is celebrated on the 11th of August every year, serves to highlight the contributions that the non-Muslim Pakistani citizens made to national development.
“This day we express our gratitude to our minority communities for their meritorious services for the uplift of the motherland,” he said. “The day also reminds us of our constitutional, religious and political responsibility to protect their rights and freedoms.
“He said Islam is a religion of peace, harmony, and tolerance. According to the Holy Quran, there is no compulsion in matters of religion, he added.
He said the Quranic precept coupled with the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet (SAAW) provides a basis for the principle enunciated by Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah in his historic address to the nation on 11th August 1948.
Emphasizing freedom of religion and sanctity of the lives and property of minorities, he said the right had further been statutorily formalized in the country’s constitution.
PM Sharif said the government stands committed to these obligations and officially celebrates the 11th of August to reiterate its resolve towards the achievement of the noble objective of building an inclusive society in line with the vision of the Quaid-i-Azam.
He reaffirmed the coalition government’s resolve for the betterment and welfare of minorities and their fullest inclusion in 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.
He said, “This is the only course which leads to the achievement of our shared objective of promoting interfaith harmony and peace in our society. Pakistan belongs to its people without any discrimination of caste, creed, and colour.”
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Thursday said the sustained high-level exchanges between Pakistan and the European Union was vital to further strengthen the growing partnership.
The prime minister, in a meeting with the newly appointed Ambassador of the European Union to Pakistan Dr. Riina Kionka who called on him here, said that Pakistan attached high importance to its relations with the EU as well as its historically close and cooperative bilateral ties with EU member states.
Recalling his recent telephone conversations with the EU Council President Charles Michel and the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, the prime minister expressed confidence that the upcoming visits to Pakistan by the EU Parliamentary delegations as well as the next rounds of political and security dialogues under EU-Pakistan Strategic Engagement Plan would pave the way for more substantive cooperation between the two sides.
Meanwhile, a delegation of Japanese investors called on Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif here on Thursday and discussed matters related to investment in Pakistan.
The delegation of BPS Investment Group led by founder Takaji Tsuji during the meeting expressed its interest to make an investment of $ one billion in the different sectors of the Pakistani economy.
The prime minister appreciated the decision of the Japanese investors to invest in Pakistan and directed officials of the Investment Board to take all necessary steps in this direction.He welcomed the Japanese investment as it would lead to progress and prosperity in the country and would create employment.
He assured all possible assistance of the Pakistan government for the investors.
He further said Japan was a sincere friend of Pakistan and Pakistan valued its cooperation in Japan in various sectors.
Minister for Defence Khawaja Muhamad Asif, Minister for Investment Board Chaudhry Salik Hussain, Minister for Education Rana Tanvir Hussain, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister Syed Tariq Fatimi and officials concerned attended the meeting.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif Thursday here held a meeting to review the ongoing assistance and rehabilitation of the flood affectees.
Minister for Communication Maulana Asad Mahmood, Minister for Interior Rana Sanaullah, Minister for Poverty Alleviation and Social Protection Shazia Marri, Minister for Railways and Aviation Khawaja Saad Rafiq, Advisor to PM for Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan Qamar Zaman Kaira, member Provincial Assembly Sanaullah Baloch, Chairman National Disaster Management Authority and relevant officials attended the meeting.
The prime minister was briefed in detail about the ongoing activities of provincial and district administrations for the rehabilitation of infrastructure and assistance of people in the flood-affected areas.
He expressed satisfaction with the steps taken for rehabilitation of the affectees and instructed the relevant officials to use all possible resources. – APP