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Nawaz's Holi message: 'Islam gives people freedom to choose their religion'

Updated Mar 14, 2017 09:06pm

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Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Tuesday delivered a progressive and inclusive message to minorities in the country, saying "no one can force others to adopt a certain religion".

Nawaz began his speech with a message of inclusiveness, saying his foremost duty as a ruler is to serve followers of all religions and not one in particular.

“God will not ask a ruler what he did for followers of a certain religion,” said Nawaz. “He will ask people such as me: what did we do for God’s creation?”

"Some people wear a turban. Some wear a chogha. Others wear a suit and tie, and some wear shalwar kameez."

"These are all creations of God," the premier added. "And that's fine. This is a freedom given to us by God. Who are we to take it away?"

He also quoted Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) and said, "If a place of worship of a non-Muslim is damaged in an Islamic country, Islamic government... I will fight their case myself on the Day of Judgment."

“I am a follower of the Holy Prophet (PBUH), if there is anyone in unjustly treated, it is my duty to stand by them,” said the prime minister.

He said if people were to see a "prosperous Pakistan", they have to "think as a Pakistani".

"One the one hand, there are people who want to see the country prosper; on the other, there are people who want to create divisions," Nawaz said, warning the people to watch our for the latter.

"All religions in the world teach respect for humanity. Islam teaches respect for all religions," said Nawaz while reiterating his message of tolerance and inclusiveness.

"And it is a matter of great satisfaction that the Pakistani nation has always rejected politics of hate," the premier added.

"No matter what religion or beliefs you follow, or what part of the country you belong to, you must be provided equal access to progress and development," said the prime minister while addressing the gathering.

"Pakistan was not made so one religion can dominate over others."

"Religion does not force anyone to do anything, let alone forcing anyone to adopt a certain religion," said the prime minister.

"Forced conversions are considered a criminal practice according to our religious teachings," he added.

Nawaz, reiterating his message, paused his address and asked audience members to try and carefully understand what he is saying. "These are important things," he said.

Speaking on the law and order situation in Karachi, the prime minister said that things have greatly improved since 2013, particularly in reference to the decrease in reports of abduction of members from the Hindu community, many of whom were business owners.

The prime minister, who appeared to be in a celebratory and jovial mood, made the address at a hotel in Karachi on the occasion of Holi, the spring festival celebrated by the Hindu community.

"I am so happy to be here. The energy, the passion, the fervour is amazing in this hall," the premier remarked. "Happy Holi!" he wished the gathering as the crowd cheered him on.

The prime minister’s remarks come at a time when the Sindh Assembly passed a landmark bill criminalising forced conversion of minority community members. The Sindh governor is yet to sign the legislation.

An alarming numbers of reports have surfaced in recent years about the forced conversion to Islam of Hindu girls by landlords in rural Sindh. Members of the Hindu community families had said they have no legal recourse for registering the crimes.

The bill, which was passed by the Sindh assembly at the end of last year, invited the ire of religious scholars who believed some of its clauses were against the teachings of Islam and contrary to the Constitution.

Nawaz Sharif is in Karachi on a two-day visit where he is expected to preside a high level security meeting.

The premier will leave for Gwadar on Wednesday, where he is scheduled to chair a high level meeting on development projects in connection with the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.

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Comments (133) Closed



khan Mar 14, 2017 02:28pm

welcome, sir!!

KT Mar 14, 2017 02:35pm

Holi also brings colors of prosperity happiness and friendship in life. Its not just about actual color welcome gesture to season builds the spirit.

Happy Holi to All.

naseem Mar 14, 2017 02:41pm

Do something for trash

Abdullah Haroon Pasha Mar 14, 2017 03:00pm

This is a very good step.

M.A.I. Mar 14, 2017 03:28pm

At the expense of our hard earned money. The total cost of this trip can solve a number of problems Karachiites were currently facing... Who cares.

pk Mar 14, 2017 03:30pm

Happy Holi!

Pashtunyar Mar 14, 2017 03:34pm

@naseem is it the primeministers job to remove trash from the streets of karachi?

Ahmad Mar 14, 2017 03:43pm

@M.A.I. We all wish our provinces start solving their problems by their own but unfortunately that is not the case. If PM Karachi visit can solve some problems the visit cost is nothing compare to that. Sindh government (PPP & MQM) are sleeping and worse than that is they do not allow anyone else to do work or take any initiative. They even do not like someone to come to Karachi and get annoyed by that. Sindh Government please mercy on us and bring some honest and hardworking people to solve public problem

D.K.PAMNANI -INDIA Mar 14, 2017 03:56pm

HAPPY HOLI TO PM NAWAZ FROM INDIA

Jobolesonihaal Mar 14, 2017 03:57pm

Playing holi will not solve the unprecedented corruption allegations on NS.

Ram Mar 14, 2017 04:04pm

@naseem :- You wan PM to clear trash? :)

Faisal Mar 14, 2017 04:19pm

@Jobolesonihaal stop it, he is the best PM in decades.

SRINI Mar 14, 2017 04:37pm

unbelievable, way to go dear PM

Princess_of_DHUMP Mar 14, 2017 04:44pm

Holi Hai!

SKZ Mar 14, 2017 04:43pm

Ohh PM Please get this Lyari Express Way Completed that is being built for the last 15 Years. If thats not possible, please start traffic on the opposite side in the evening - after 6 PM.

Resident of Kachrachi

M Jamal Mar 14, 2017 04:55pm

Everyone is good for the country provided he is not corrupt.

purushottamsingi Mar 14, 2017 05:06pm

Happy Holi to every one in Pakistan. present ruling dispensation has taken some tangible steps, which increases confidence of minorities in Pakistan.

ahaq Mar 14, 2017 05:10pm

Drama to hide corruption

Hidden truth Mar 14, 2017 05:14pm

I support you in this.

Joe Mar 14, 2017 05:18pm

"Forced conversions are considered a criminal practice according to our religious teachings, he added." A welcome statement .

RAJA CHILL Mar 14, 2017 05:19pm

Good to hear that leaders know that there are minority living in the country.

Jagat Mar 14, 2017 05:21pm

all talk no actions

Jiyala Mar 14, 2017 05:23pm

Dear PM,

Please visit thar when they are dying because of no food or water. Please tell them that they are dying because you got elected. Please tell them that you will eat every bit of Pakistan and not do anything for them because, you aren't worth it. Please deliver peace messages to every corner of Pakistan and tell sane people out there about the word 'peace'.

The_Truth Mar 14, 2017 05:27pm

Thanks Mr PM. Now do some work for minorities too, talks are not enough.

GAUTAM Mar 14, 2017 05:30pm

Very Best Wishes to all in Pakistan !

Abdulla Hussain Mar 14, 2017 05:29pm

Likewise Pakistan was also not made to mint illegal wealth through corruption. Everyone has to come out clean. Corrupt persons will not be allowed to continue with illegal practices for long.

Pure ind Mar 14, 2017 05:34pm

These words can be considered serious only if similar actions are also taken.

rahimchacha Mar 14, 2017 05:41pm

I'm surprised to see these words from PM. does it truly mean it? thanks

Atticus from india Mar 14, 2017 05:47pm

Pleasantly surprised. Good intent.

Pavan Mar 14, 2017 05:46pm

Holi is the festival of friendship. harmony..its happy to see the statement from pm saaheb

Yobaby Mar 14, 2017 05:53pm

Hindus are just given right to register their marriage..... their is a long way to go before such statements are made

Kam Mar 14, 2017 05:53pm

Karachi problems are very local like roads and cleaning etc. Federal government can do very little when provincial government is usless government in whole south asia.

Alba Mar 14, 2017 06:07pm

Agree with the message. It is a nice sentiment. Unfortunate it is not true. Millions in the Middle East have prove that is not true. sincerely hope Pakistan can do better. That is the real message. We won't do better unless we try harder. What is more logical than that? Isn't that what he is asking people to do?

Alba Mar 14, 2017 06:19pm

@Jiyala .... There is a problem here. Nawaz Sharif believes he is doing a good job, and that people just do not understand him. So that given time they will.

Gaf Mar 14, 2017 06:17pm

@Pashtunyar but as the PM of the country you can influence and demand that the institutions that are responsible clean up the city or else resign and let someone else do the job.

You can not do nothing. You are the PM, in charge of the country and should make sure all cities and areas are run properly.

Alba Mar 14, 2017 06:23pm

@Abdulla Hussain ... It will take a revolution to stop corruption in Pakistan, and that will only work for about forty years until it is all back to the same thing again.

Bob Mar 14, 2017 06:25pm

Mr. Prime Minister, Nawab Saab, your assurances to the minorities, particularly Hindus is a welcome step. All these years they were living in fear in Pakistan. Hope with the steps taken by your govt Minorities living in Pakistan, not only in cities, but even the remotest corners feel free and safe.

Kumar Mar 14, 2017 06:27pm

In the modern world humanity should take centre-stage. Religion is a private thing that should left to the individual.

Farhan Mar 14, 2017 06:31pm

Lets free the temples and Gurudwara which are converted into library or storage use. Let the minorities feel that their treasure is open for them.

Bipul Mar 14, 2017 06:35pm

Never heard such a powerful and inclusive speech from any world leader before. Kudos to PM Nawaz.

MaLIK_AWAN Mar 14, 2017 06:36pm

Happy Holi to every one who is celebrating.

Gerry D'Cunha Mar 14, 2017 06:37pm

@rahimchacha you have taken the same words from my mouth. As far as anyone knows this is not true.

wellwisher Mar 14, 2017 06:40pm

better late than never

Shahryar Shirazi Mar 14, 2017 06:41pm

Congrats on the occasion of Holi to all Hindus around the globe and in particular the ones in Pakistan.

Shahryar Shirazi Mar 14, 2017 06:39pm

@Jiyala Thar is Sindh, which means PM unfortunately has no jurisdiction according to the 18th amendment. It is the corrupt and incompetent PPP Govt which is responsible for whats happening in Thar. The people of rural Sindh are also responsible as time and again they have elected these corrupt landlords from Sindh.

Mohammad Ali bajwa Mar 14, 2017 06:40pm

Good message. Hope the Mullahs agrees with his message.

A Mar 14, 2017 06:43pm

Progressive thoughts....

DIL Mar 14, 2017 06:48pm

These are strong words PM good job now please take necessary actions to make sure these Islamic values prevail in society .

mywahala Mar 14, 2017 06:56pm

he sounds like a nice guy.

danish Mar 14, 2017 07:10pm

Very good m nawaz.

Sridhar Raghunatha Rao Mar 14, 2017 07:35pm

Very good gesture by the Head of State.

Ashok kulkarni Mar 14, 2017 07:31pm

@Gaf Public places cleaning should become a mass movement as done by PM Modi in India by Swachh Bharat Abhiyan.Slowly but surely one can experience the effect of the movement in India.Focus should be on changing the mindset of the people Happy Holi to our neighbour Pakistan!

pervaiz Mar 14, 2017 07:36pm

@Jiyala Dear Jiyala Sb, Please copy paste your comment and send this to your leader Asif Zardari, Bilawal & Sind CM to whome you elected

Sameer Mar 14, 2017 07:37pm

Us minorities will continue to suffer. PMs lip service is of no use to the harsh ground realities of Sehwan, Sanghar and other interior Sindh areas.

Falcon1 Mar 14, 2017 07:39pm

@Sridhar Raghunatha Rao - A PM is head of the government. Only the President is the head of the state, under Parliamentary government system.

But this is all by design to appear religious and moderate, to garner sympathy from the public. I am not so easily swayed by these cosmetic gestures by corrupt politicians.

Truth prevails Mar 14, 2017 07:39pm

This is nice step by Nawaz Sharif for saving of Hindus, Ahmedis, christians in Pakistan! Hope one day pakistan will be free from Extreme elements and enjoy democracy and each festivals like never before!! All the best to Pakistan from India!!

Sameer Mar 14, 2017 07:35pm

@Pashtunyar Neither is looting and hoarding massive wealth, but who gives a worry.

Faisal Mar 14, 2017 07:36pm

Well Done PM.

ALEX Mar 14, 2017 07:50pm

@Pashtunyar is he capable of doing something better?

DADA Mar 14, 2017 08:04pm

Thank you PM for your statement

Yaar Nawab Mar 14, 2017 08:15pm

Happy Holi to all my Hindi brothers and sisters across the globe (specifically to Pakistanis).

Zara Mar 14, 2017 08:16pm

That's a nice message, but when will minorities be treated equally, equal enough to one day be head of army, head of the country?

mam Mar 14, 2017 08:18pm

This is true message in favor of humanity and mankind... I wish our leaders could also understand the huge loss on both sides because of unwarranted enmity between two countries... pave the way for peace and fraternity and compete on development, infrastructure and poverty front.

Commentator Mar 14, 2017 08:16pm

@naseem That is the local city governments job. Not the federal.

Gunner Mar 14, 2017 08:26pm

For once, you talked like a leader.. hats off, sir!

Especially for the courage.

MG- Washington Mar 14, 2017 08:27pm

A good beginning

SKC Mar 14, 2017 08:29pm

Kudos to PM Nawaz Sharif Ji for kind gesture towards minorities. Ushers well for progress of Pakistan. Best Holi wishes for a properous Pakistan.

bk Mar 14, 2017 08:36pm

What has he done for the minorities. The hindus christians sikhs etc all are living in fear. Do something to protect their life and property and then speak.

AXH Mar 14, 2017 08:37pm

He has been the PM since 2013 and only now has he chosen to speak on this subject? Why not when a Christian couple was lynched in Lahore? Why not when citizens from Hazara were gunned down multiple times? Now that elections are near, his belief in humanity and his responsibilities as the nation's head had taken a turn all of a sudden?

Sardar suri Mar 14, 2017 08:43pm

Holi is celebrated by Hindus and Sikhs alike. Thank you Nawaz.

MessengerOfPeace Mar 14, 2017 08:39pm

Excellent move Mr. PM.

A Mar 14, 2017 08:59pm

@Falcon1 you have any idea how cynical you just sounded by telling a non-Pakistani (Judging by name, I could be wrong) not to praise your PM. This is what PTI has brought this country to, hate to the extent that we become anti-national. There is something called 'to not wash your dirty linen in public!'

True Pakistani Mar 14, 2017 09:03pm

He seems like a much improved person, I love he is speaking for my non-muslim Pakistani brothers and sisters. This is the Pakistan my Jinnah wanted, where we all live as a happy family. Well done sir, you have my respect, and again my love.

mad mamluk Mar 14, 2017 09:08pm

cant believe im gonna say this but he's right and i totally support this. well done.

Rizwan Mar 14, 2017 09:14pm

Nice to hear such a positive and realistic message from the prime minister. Hope we can spread this message of tolerance and respect for all to the whole society.

Riaz Ullah Baig Mar 14, 2017 09:18pm

Giving out contradictory messages to different quarter at the same time; religious harmony and inclusiveness to the minorities and Hijab in universities to Muslims! Whom are you trying to please and why now? Is the end near?

kunaljune Mar 14, 2017 09:18pm

Nawaz ji, you Only Talk --- Never Deliver

Kris Mar 14, 2017 09:28pm

That is a beautiful message. Well done Mr.Sharif!

kabira Mar 14, 2017 09:39pm

first u killed them, when they're on negligible in demographics... now u r taking like Human right activist ...

Biswajit Mar 14, 2017 09:42pm

Its so delightful to witness the Brotherhood at Karachi. Really politicians can make all the differences. And my heart goes out the people there who are belieevers of only brotherhood by inter religions also. I am really very very happy.

fakim khan Mar 14, 2017 09:44pm

70 years late..

Taurious Mar 14, 2017 09:49pm

Please follow up with "tangible actions"

Sid Mar 14, 2017 10:00pm

Wish you a very happy Holi , PM Sharif. Glad to hear such thing in your speech. In our schools, we are taught an analogy, that all religions are like rivers that ultimately flow into one ocean which is God.

Waaris Mar 14, 2017 10:12pm

Good gesture form PM, thank you.

P DATTA Mar 14, 2017 10:15pm

It seems people of all faiths have started getting closer. Now or never.....

NITesh V Mar 14, 2017 10:15pm

Nice move by Pak Govt. , but it should be strictly executed and if anywhere violated, strict punishments must be given.

Saqib ghumman Mar 14, 2017 10:20pm

Nice gesture. Well done

Khawar Mar 14, 2017 10:33pm

Bravo ; The only leader in this troubled world who talk about peace, harmony and standing for minorities

rishi Mar 14, 2017 10:37pm

welcome step!! Better late than never.

saif riza Mar 14, 2017 10:41pm

Very good, PM. Best of luck.

sajed syed Mar 14, 2017 10:56pm

Thanks Nawaz Saheb. How I wish clerics speak the same language and all those who are converted shall be given freedom to revert.

Parvez Mar 14, 2017 11:18pm

If he acted on what he says ....... he would genuinely be popular......but alas that is not how it is.

Amir Ali Mar 14, 2017 11:35pm

Thank you Prime Minister for reiterating that. In a world of science and technology, no place of religious divide. Our ideology should be - live and let live.

Monsieur Mar 15, 2017 12:05am

what is the %age of minorities in Pakistan today compared to 1947????

Pragmatist Mar 15, 2017 12:05am

Really!

Saeeds Mar 15, 2017 12:21am

You are making your own doctrine . Convert or pay plenty and for Apostate no mercy.

Mitra Mar 15, 2017 12:37am

Pakistan's Prime Minister's message only imply that the extermination of Indic minorities is near complete and no further cleansing is required for now.

RAJAB SATHIO Mar 15, 2017 12:33am

PM should care about interior Sindh as well where there is no any alternative to people except PPP, who is rampantly destroying the province. PM should visit interior sindh to enhance his vote bank for coming elections, People have got fed up from PPP but the sad state is that there is no any alternate to vote here.

t.zaman Mar 15, 2017 12:39am

Speech like a statesman. Bravo, bravo. Prime minister of All Pakistanis, Nawaz Sharif.

saqib mughal Mar 15, 2017 12:44am

Wonderful speech. This is the Pakistan that we want to feel proud to call our homeland. One that is inclusive and equal for all citizens of every sub group, as rightly guided predecessors practised before us.

Eric Mar 15, 2017 01:59am

the best comment from any Pakistani prime minister. may God bless you!

Krishna Baddam Mar 15, 2017 02:06am

All Talk. No action against forced conversions.

Abbas Syed Mar 15, 2017 02:19am

This oft repeated bogus old and tired and no one pays attention to this. Talking good about one's religion, faith and belief is like talking good about one's own self.

ahamd shah Mar 15, 2017 03:22am

Thanks for reminding us .But mind your business!!!

jay tuli Mar 15, 2017 03:27am

Well said Sir. Most of the young Pakistani Muslims agree with you and hope others do the same. HAPPY HOLI TO ALL AND PEACE TO WHOLE OF SOUTH ASIA.

imtiaz ali khan Mar 15, 2017 04:30am

That is my believe we are all same, we will stand up with our minorities always and always.

Happy Holi my Hindu family. Holi hai!

Akhleshwar Mar 15, 2017 04:42am

Prime Minister Sharif's statements are highly desirable and very welcome.

scientist Mar 15, 2017 05:12am

oh Yeah..Really!!! Thanks for letting us know.

IMTIAZ ALI KHAN Mar 15, 2017 05:24am

@Sardar suri Holi is celebrated by Sufis also I celebrated with my Hindu friends. Love all the celebration that is what life is all about Happy Holi yaar.

Mike London Mar 15, 2017 05:41am

Yeah Right

Jawaid kamAl Mar 15, 2017 05:45am

Great massage ,truely admirable,wish he can stand up for Ahmadis as well

Harris Mustafa Mar 15, 2017 05:45am

Indeed a very "holy" message

Nuanced Mar 15, 2017 06:02am

The headline is very conceited and presents a unipolar worldview

Atif Mar 15, 2017 06:09am

Can't believe fomer Ameer ul momneen said this. This guy is becoming more and more interesting

aga Khan Mar 15, 2017 06:15am

Long over due such words. Have praise for the PM, at least begin to see that he has some guts to take on extreme views.

Sachin Mar 15, 2017 06:16am

Such statements by anyone are always welcome. Much needed.

Dawn Mar 15, 2017 06:27am

@Pure ind -compare this with atrocities committed by Modi in Gujrat not long ago.

De. Ramesh Sharma Mar 15, 2017 06:57am

I hope what you are saying is true but the ground realities points to the contrary. The next census will vindicate this point. Once it comes out then please compare the current minorities composition than with 1947.

cool Himalayan lama Mar 15, 2017 07:24am

we know what message it gives

Lubna Mar 15, 2017 08:16am

@Pashtunyar , it is definitely PM's job to appoint capable people who can take care of organizational matters like keeping the country clean

Shankar Mar 15, 2017 08:12am

Salute you, Mr. PM!

A K Islam Mar 15, 2017 09:02am

I am very encouraged to hear Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's speech about religious tolerance in our society. Way to go Mr. Prime Minister.

TAriq Mar 15, 2017 09:28am

Nawaz consciously sending message to outside hidden powers that he is broadminded and useful for them in upcoming elections.

D.K.PAMNANI -INDIA Mar 15, 2017 09:32am

Impressed and felt happy on the speech of PM, Pakistan. Now this needs implementation towards minorities in Pakistan. Hope for the best for minorities in Pakistan.

HAPPY HOLI - JAI HIND

skdking Mar 15, 2017 10:02am

Wonderful sentiments expressed by NS.

Umar Farooq Mar 15, 2017 10:26am

Welcome , Great Gesture Mr. Prime Minister ...........

Sky Mar 15, 2017 10:32am

@fakim khan it is late, like trying a balm for hands after they are amputated. it was job of founding fathers of Pak, early leaders and citizens to let minorities survive. Nawaz is doing his bit as relevant in current times and is to be appreciated.

A pakistani Mar 15, 2017 10:35am

Well done! I appreciate the message of peace and inclusiveness. Pakistan is for all citizens.

As per the words of Mr Jinnah:

"You are free; you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or to any other place or worship in this State of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed that has nothing to do with the business of the State. "

Reader Mar 15, 2017 06:31pm

Happy Holi to all Hindu brothers and sisters, wish you all a safe and prosperous life.

Mustafa Mar 15, 2017 06:42pm

well Said. First time he has spoken as a leader and I salute you From anti Nawaz person

arjun sharma Mar 15, 2017 08:17pm

very nice and humanitarian message by PM of Pakistan. I heartily welcome his respect of equality of all religion

arjun sharma Mar 15, 2017 08:18pm

very nice and humanitarian message by PM of Pakistan. I heartily welcome his respect of equality of all religion

Sankar Mar 16, 2017 10:05pm

Happy Holi