LAHORE : MINISTRY for Human Rights and Minorities Affairs in collaboration with Ajoka Theatre and other organisations organised a convention to mark the National Minorities Day on Saturday at Aiwan-e-Iqbal here.
The convention marked the 72nd anniversary of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s famous speech delivered before the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan on August 11, 1947 that guaranteed the equality of rights and freedom for all Pakistanis.
Punjab Minister for Human Rights and Religious Affairs Ijaz Alam Augustine was the chief guest of the convention held in collaboration with the collaboration of Ajoka Theatre, Centre for Social Justice (CSJ), National Commission for Justice and Peace, Peoples Commission for Minorities Rights (PCMR) and Cecil & Iris Chaudhry Foundation (CICF).
Maulana Abdul Khabeer Azad, grand imaam of Badshaahi Mosque, Peter Jacob, Justice (r) Nasir Javed Iqbal, Tariq Gill, Saroop Ijaz Advocate, Dr Kalyan Singh, Dr Rubina Feroze Bhatti, Shahid Nadeem and Michelle Chaudhry were also among the speakers.
Dr Fr Bonnie Mendes, Fr Raphael Mehnga, Cecil Shane Chaudhry and other dignitaries were also present.
The provincial minister for human rights said that government was firmly committed to actualising the vision of Jinnah with regard to protection of religious minorities. He said the Ministry for Human Rights & Minorities Affairs was devoted to take exemplary steps to eliminate hate material from textbooks, and protect and preserve religious sites of minority communities, and ensure implementation of job quota, and remission in imprisonment.
Peter Jacob said, "The government should make it a policy priority to strengthen institutional protection of minority rights by undertaking a series of legal, policy and administrative measures to accommodate, and cater to the demands of minority communities in Pakistan."
Maulana Abdul Khabeer Azad said, “Minorities are entitled to equal human rights that every Pakistani enjoys.
Justice (r) Nasira Javed Iqbal said that Quaid-e-Azam laid the foundation of a nation where all Pakistani irrespective of any discrimination could enjoy equality of rights. She demanded that establishment of commission for minority rights was imperative to address the issues the minorities faced.
Shahid Nadeem said that performing arts was a medium to eliminate prejudice, and inculcate positivity in hearts. Ajoka Theatre is making utmost efforts to contribute to build a society where there is equality of rights and opportunities for all,” he added.
The artistes and musicians from different backgrounds performed at the event. A team of Ajoka Theatre gave a stellar performance on “Bullah tay Banda” that depicted the life experiences and lessons of Sufi saint Bulleh Shah (1680–1757) with the aim of fostering a culture of interfaith and inter-communal harmony and respect for human dignity irrespective of race, religion or ethnicity.
Kashmir human rights volunteers’ movement launched
By Our correspondent
LAHORE : MISHAAL Malik, wife of detained Kashmiri leader Yaseen Malik, and former federal minister and leader of Pakistan National Party, Mohammad Ali Durrani, kicked off a campaign to recruit a large army of human rights volunteers to wage a forceful political movement for mobilizing world opinion against Indian genocide of Kashmiri Muslims.
The Kashmir Human Rights Volunteers Movement was launched on Saturday from the platform of National Kashmir Alliance (NKA), a newly established volunteers’ body for the cause of Kashmir, with an aim to raise the volunteers force from the youth of Pakistan, reaching out to them for registration through vehicles and door to door contacts. Addressing the ceremony at a private educational institution, Mishaal Malik said “Kashmir desperately needs volunteers from Pakistan to fight its case before UN and to wake world conscience. Time has come for us to return Kashmiris’ favor, they have kept Pakistan’s rivers flowing through their blood,” she said, adding that NKA would collect millions of signatures and hundreds of rallies.
Mohammad Ali Durrani, while calling Narendra Modi Halaku Khan of India who had been building towers of Muslims’ scalps right from the massacre of Gujarat in 2002, warned that now Modi was out for a large scale massacre of Kashmiri Muslims. He said Kashmir is the largest open air jail in the world which had been suffering the longest martial law in world’s history for over 70 years. Durani said Modi had uprooted the very foundations of secular India laid down by Gandhi, warning that India would cease to exist very soon and disintegrate into many Indias.
He said NKA would raise a large army of Pakistani volunteers, hold rallies in every nook and corner raising massive human rights violations by the Indian occupation army, adding that the army of HR volunteers would march towards India and Delhi could not stop it.
Mishaal Malik said political parties in Pakistan used to hold rallies, sit-ins and public meetings on corruption, democracy etc. but never showed that spirit in countering India which had been behind every bomb blast, subversion and bloodsheds like Army Public School Peshawar. She said India had continued its war but we had been allowing it to befool us through beautiful words like ‘peace, dialogue and normalization.” She said Delhi had even thrown traitors away including Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti.
Professor Abdul Manan Khurram, Mian Murtaza Rashid, Chief Organizer of Kashmir Human Rights Volunteers Movement and Mr. Maqsood Butt, Organizer National Kashmir Alliance also spoke on the occasion.
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