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Friday June 21, 2024

Minister briefs US envoy on steps for promoting interfaith harmony

By Our Correspondent
June 09, 2024
Punjab Minister for Minority Affairs Ramesh Singh Arora (right) meets Consul General of USA Kristen Hawkins (centre) in Lahore in this image released on June 8, 2024. — Facebook/Human Rights and Minorities Affairs Department, Government of the Punjab
Punjab Minister for Minority Affairs Ramesh Singh Arora (right) meets Consul General of USA Kristen Hawkins (centre) in Lahore in this image released on June 8, 2024. — Facebook/Human Rights and Minorities Affairs Department, Government of the Punjab

LAHORE: Consul General of USA Kristen Hawkins on Saturday called on Minister for Minority Affairs Ramesh Singh Arora in his camp office.

Political/Economic Chief Douglas Johnston, Political Specialist M Daim Fazil, Secretary HR Ali Bahadur Qazi and other relevant persons were also present in the meeting.

In the meeting, there was a detailed discussion on promoting inter-faith harmony and peace with the cooperation of both countries. The minister told the consul general that as soon as the government was established in Punjab, the protection of the rights of religious minorities was being ensured from the first day.

Punjab Chief Minister Maryam Nawaz went to Kartarpur and started Baisakhi festival, also reached holy Maryamabad and distributed 10,000 Easter grants per family. Apart from this, on the instructions of the CM, cheques of educational scholarships have been distributed among the minority students. He said that by increasing the minority development fund in the budget, religious tourism will be promoted and religious places of worship will be constructed and repaired, he said.

Emphasising digital learning so that our young generation can also compete with developed countries in the field of IT. It is desired that the quality of life of the people living in the rural areas should also be improved. According to the vision of Chief Minister Punjab Maryam Nawaz, all Pakistanis living in Pakistan have equal rights and all enjoy religious freedom, the minister said.

Ramesh Singh said that they are ensuring the implementation of 5pc quota in jobs and 2pc in higher education for the youth of religious minorities while trying to allocate quota in medical and engineering also.

In response to a question from the consul general, the minister said that no major damage could be done due to the timely action of the police and security enforcement agencies in the incident that occurred in Sargodha, but the civil society and religious leaders need to play their positive role to ensure prevention of incidents like Jaranwala and Sargodha in future.

For this, several seminars and awareness schemes being carried out from the platform of the department so that the society can be made peaceful, the minister said.

The consul general appreciated the steps being taken by the Punjab government to promote peace and inter-faith and assured their full support in the future while Minister Ramesh Singh also presented a commemorative shield to the consul general on behalf of the department.