ISLAMABAD: President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani have vowed to make Pakistan a land of peace and tranquility for all its citizens without any discrimination of colour, creed, race and religion.
In his separate message on the occasion of Christmas President Asif Ali Zardari said Christmas is a time for festivity, celebration and rejoicing as well as a reminder to all of us of the message of Jesus Christ (May Allah be pleased with him) of love, forgiveness and brotherhood among the people.
We Muslims deeply revere Jesus Christ as one of the great messengers of Allah whose universal message of love for mankind holds great promise of peace and harmony in a world beset with strife, violence and militancy.
The Christians living in Pakistan are a law-abiding and loyal community and we are proud of their tremendous contributions to the advancement and development of the country, the president said.
“On this auspicious occasion, I also wish to reiterate the commitment of the democratic of the Pakistan Peoples Party to continue to fight along with our Christian brothers and sisters for the rights of all minorities and deprived people in the country for establishing a liberal and pluralistic society in Pakistan.
Together we will struggle for establishing in Pakistan a society in which every citizen is allowed to participate freely in the social, political and economic development of the country irrespective of his cast, creed and colour”, the president said.
He said let me also reiterate on this occasion our pledge that the PPP will continue to uphold the right of the Christians, indeed of all minorities, to be treated as equal citizens of the state and allowed to partake in its development on an equal footing.
Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani in his message said it is a matter of immense satisfaction and happiness that our Christian community is contributing to the national development side by side with their other countrymen in every walk of life including education, health, defence, politics and social welfare. They enjoy complete religious freedom and all civic facilities in Pakistan.
“Pakistan People’s Party established a relationship of mutual trust and unity with the minorities and gave them their due place since the day one. Upon being voted into power, Shaheed Zulifqar Ali Bhutto established the ministry of minorities’ affairs at the federal level for the protection of their rights and solution of their problems, which is a reflection of Shaheed Bhutto’s farsightedness and political wisdom. Mohtarama Benazir Bhutto also made all-out efforts for the welfare of minorities during her two stints in power. The present government is now taking this legacy forward”, PM said.
The federal government has increased the budget of ministry of minorities’ affairs for progress and welfare of the minorities and decided to give representation to the minorities in the Senate. We also increased the quota of minorities in the federal jobs by 5% and gave countless scholarships to the youth. A fund of Rs. 32 million has been established for the support of the deprived among the minorities. Technical centres are also being established to impart technical education to the youths of minorities, he said.
We have also taken the initiative of establishing inter-faith committees throughout the country to promote harmony and understanding among followers of different faiths. A plan for the establishment of multi-faith complex in Islamabad has been prepared to project harmony, tolerance and dialogue among different religions. Likewise, our government has declared the 11th of August as the Day of Minorities, he said.
PM said We must pledge on this sacred festival of Christmas that we would keep on making efforts for promotion of interfaith dialogue and harmony among different religions to make Pakistan a land of peace and tranquility for all its citizens without any discrimination of colour, creed, race and religion.