Government to bring minorities into mainstream, says Zardari
ISLAMABAD: President Asif Ali Zardari Thursday reiterated commitment of the present government to protect the rights of the minorities in Pakistan and to draw them fully in the mainstream of national life.
He was addressing a gathering of the minorities on the National Minorities day. He said that 11 August has a special significance in our national calendar as it was on this very day in 1947 when the Father of the Nation Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, made a historic speech in the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan wherein he clearly laid down the foundations of a modern, tolerant and progressive Pakistan, where everyone would have equal rights regardless of creed, caste and gender.
He said that the government was committed to ensure equal rights for all the minorities, adding that recognition of and respect for the minorities’ rights was part of the PPP manifesto.President paid glorious tribute to Shahbaz Bhatti and other countless courageous advocates of interfaith harmony who laid down their lives fighting for the cause of promoting religious tolerance and interfaith harmony.
Counting government’s measures for the welfare of minorities, he said that reservation of 5% quota in government jobs, reservation of 4 seats for minorities in the
Senate, hundred percent increases in the Minority Development Fund, Declaration of 11th August, as Minority Day and establishment of prayer rooms in all prisons of Pakistan were some of the initiatives taken by the present government to bring minorities into the mainstream of national life.
He expressed confidence, that after the passage of Eighteenth Amendment, the provinces will ensure that all communities can freely profess and practice their religions and also safeguard their legitimate and rightful interests.
He called upon scholars and leaders of all faiths to play their active role and enter into dialogue to remove the distrust and misunderstandings among the followers of different religions. Those who were present at the occasion included among others, Chairman Pakistan People’s Party Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Aseffa Bhutto Zardari, Bakhtawar Bhutto Zardari, Paul Bhatti, advisor to Prime Minister on National Harmony, Akram Maseeh Gill, MOS for National harmony, ministers, parliamentarians, members of diplomatic community, bishops and members of minority’s community.