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March 7, 2012
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Interfaith harmony to help eliminate extremism, says PM

March 7, 2012

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ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani on Tuesday said the government was committed to the welfare of minorities and had taken a number of practical steps in this regard.
Addressing a function organised by the All Pakistan Minorities Alliance on the first death anniversary of Shahbaz Bhatti at the Convention Centre, the prime minister said the reservation of four seats for minorities in the Senate and reservation of five percent quota of government jobs were some of the achievements of the government to ensure equal rights for the minorities.
He said the people had hopes from democracy, adding, “I also believe that with the message of interfaith harmony going across, we will be able to eliminate the impact of extremism successfully and emerge as a stronger and prosperous nation.”
He said the late Shahbaz Bhatti had contributed a lot for the cause and rights of his people and his struggle would always be remembered.
The PM said it was because of Shahbaz Bhatti that 11th August was declared the Minority Day and the government had decided to celebrate minorities’ religious festivals at the official level. He said prayer rooms had been established in all the prisons of Pakistan and the vernacular name of Christians was on the suggestion of Shahbaz Bhatti.
“Late Shahbaz Bhatti was a committed member of the Pakistan People’s Party who had unflinching faith in Pakistan under the dynamic leadership of Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto,” he added.
PM Gilani said the democratic government of the Pakistan People’s Party had the honour of being the “Party of Shaheeds” as it had made sacrifices for the restoration of democracy and struggled continuously for the rights of the people of Pakistan. He said the life and work of late Shahbaz Bhatti reflected the vision of founding father Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah.
PM Gilani said: “I must appreciate the role of the scholars of different faiths who have consistently professed

and practised the ideals of integrity and harmony within the Pakistan.”
He appreciated the efforts and contribution of all political forces, religious scholars and leaders of different faiths to make sincere efforts for a better and stable Pakistan. “I hope you will continue to contribute and promote national harmony to build a much stronger and more tolerant Pakistan, which should be our collective cherished goal,” the PM said, adding that Shahbaz Bhatti could have saved his life but did not compromise on principles.
The PM said, “We are making all-out efforts to impart the sense of equal citizenship so far as fundamental rights pertaining to safety, security, honour, life, liberty and properties of the minorities are concerned,” the PM said.
Federal Minister for Overseas Pakistani Farooq Sattar, Advisor to Prime Minister on National Harmony Dr Paul Bhatti, Senator Kamran Michael, Maulana Abdul Khabeer Azad, Bishop Alexander John Malik, representative of minorities from different parts of the country as well as the Ambassador of Holy Sea to Pakistan also spoke on the occasion and appreciated the contribution of Shahbaz Bhatti for the Christian community.
Prime Minister was awarded the Award of Peace by the Christian community for his services and measures taken for their welfare.

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