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Lahore

July 28, 2018

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Fair deal to minorities

The founder of Pakistan in his address to the government officers in Karachi on October 11, 1947, had assured minorities their rights would be protected in the same way as those of other citizens.

He reiterated with all the emphasis at his command that “we shall pursue our settled policy in this respect and we shall continue to protect the life and property of minorities and shall give them a fair deal. We do not want them to be forced to leave Pakistan and that so long as they remain faithful and loyal to the state they shall be entitled to the same treatment as any other citizen.”

Later, speaking at a rally at the end of the same month at the University Stadium in Lahore, he emphasized “the tenets of Islam enjoin on every Muslim to give protection to his neighbours and to the minorities regardless of caste and creed.”

Enlightened citizens take seriously a prime minister’s pledge made two years ago to protect rights of all religious communities.

Educationists and social workers say the prime minister must have resurrected in his mind Allama Iqbal’s poem wherein the great thinker said that ‘Hindu, Muslim, Sikh aur Isa’ee (Christians) aapus mein hain bhai bhai’(they are all brothers as human beings).

How plainly Nawaz Sharif out of love said: “Every community living here (in Karachi) whether Hindu, Muslim or Parsi, everyone belongs to me and I belong to them. I’m prime minister of all communities; when you’re in distress, I’ll stand by you.”

Elder citizens say that is the lesson of Islam practiced by Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). They also say there are many things waiting to be done for the common man’s welfare. The fact is that even today people recall the contribution of Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah, Fatimah Jinnah and Liaquat Ali Khan to the cause of humanity without discrimination.

Worth recalling and practicing are the words of the father of the nation who emphasized that “we follow the teachings of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), we’re members of the brotherhood of Islam in which we all are equal in right, dignity and self-respect, and, consequently, we’ve a special and deep sense of unity; Islam demands from us the tolerance of other creeds and we welcome in closest association with all those who, of whatever creed, are themselves willing and ready to play their part as true and loyal citizens of Pakistan.”

Old citizens say we need to be inspired by the leadership and character of the founder of Pakistan, Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah. We must bear in mind that brotherhood, equality and fraternity are the basic points of our religion, culture and civilization: Islam stands for justice, equality, fair play, toleration and even generosity to non-Muslims who may be under our protection---they are like brothers to us and citizens of the state.

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