President Asif Ali Zardari on Wednesday said that government has taken vigorous steps for the protection of rights of minority community including allocation of 5% quota for minorities in government jobs, increasing the minorities
According to Presidency Spokesman, delegation of World Fellowship of Buddhists (WFB) led by its secretary General Phallop Thaiarry called on President Asif Ali Zardari at the Aiwan-e- Sadr on Wednesday.
The President while talking to the delegation said that the government was keen to preserve and develop the ancient cultural heritage of Gandhara not only as a means to promote inter-faith harmony but also to promote tourism in the country. The existence of large number of Buddhist stupas and monasteries in Gandhara, which are very sacred for Buddhists are an important part of our historic culture, the President said and added that the government has always welcomed tourists and foreign visitors to these sacred religious sites in Pakistan.
The President appreciated the various steps proposed by the World Fellowship of Buddhists (WFB) to promote Gandhara heritage of Pakistan including the establishment of Gandhara chair in one of the renowned universities, association of WFB with some of Pakistani institutions and the translation of literature on Gandhara in Thai Language.
The President while referring to the civilizational link between Pakistan and Thailand said that the two countries enjoy cordial relations and have worked together for peace and stability. He said that Pakistan attaches importance to further develop its relationship with Thailand in all fields, particularly in the areas of culture and people to people contacts.
The President said that the PPP government as per party manifesto was committed to protect rights and privileges of minorities as enshrined in the Constitution and bring them into the mainstream of national life.
He said that the government has taken vigorous steps for the protection of rights of minority community including allocation of 5% quota for minorities in government jobs, increasing the minorities Development fund by two fold, establishing skills development centers for members of minorities community, commemorating August 11 as Minority Day and the establishment of inter- faith Harmony Committees at the district level in the country.
The President said that a hot line had also been set up in the Minorities Affairs Ministry with extension to the Presidency for emergency calls from members of minority community against incidents of victimization and violence against them. This he said was a new initiative that will serve as deterrence against potential criminal elements against the minority members.
Secretary General, World Fellowship of Buddhists (WFB), Mr. Phallop Thaiarry thanked the President for meeting the delegation and appreciated the various measures taken by the government of Pakistan to protect the rights of minority community and to preserve the rich cultural and religious heritage of Gandhara in Pakistan.
Those who attended the meeting among others include Mr. Shahbaz Bhatti, Minister for Minorities affairs, federal Secretaries of minorities, tourism and culture and other senior government officials.