Minorities enjoy complete freedom, says minister

Published September 2, 2020
“For the first time, the minorities commission has been headed by a member of the Hindu community and the aim is to represent minorities in a better way and make all the reporting process more transparent and trustworthy,” he said. — APP/File
“For the first time, the minorities commission has been headed by a member of the Hindu community and the aim is to represent minorities in a better way and make all the reporting process more transparent and trustworthy,” he said. — APP/File

ISLAMABAD: Religious Affairs Minister Pir Noorul Haq Qadri claimed during a meeting with the European Union ambassador on Tuesday that negative propaganda was being spread against Pakistan on the matter of forced conversions. He also claimed Pakistan was at the forefront in the region in providing religious minorities rights and freedom to exercise their faith.

EU Ambassador Androulla Kaminara visited Mr Qadri at the Ministry of Religious Affairs along with a delegation to discuss a positive image of Pakistan at the international level and matters of mutual interest.

She said the EU would always support Pakistan’s efforts to promote interfaith harmony and praised the government’s Kartarpur Corridor initiative, calling it an example of interfaith harmony.

She added that the Covid-19 pandemic has affected all human beings, but life is slowly returning to normal.

Mr Qadri praised Prime Minister Imran Khan’s policies to tackle the pandemic, and thanked the ambassador for the EU’s support during the crisis.

He said: “Recently, a National Commission for Minorities has been established with the aim to protect as well as provide welfare to the members of various religious minorities in Pakistan.”

“For the first time, the minorities commission has been headed by a member of the Hindu community and the aim is to represent minorities in a better way and make all the reporting process more transparent and trustworthy,” he added.

He said the commission would be strengthened further through an act of parliament, and interfaith harmony committees are being organised up to the district level.

The religious affairs ministry notified the National Commission for Minorities this May. It is headed by Chela Ram Kewlani, and includes 12 members that include representatives of the Parsi, Kalash, Muslim, Hindu, Christian and Sikh communities.

The parliament has also formed a committee to protect religious minorities from forced conversations, led by Senator Anwarul Haq Kakar.

Published in Dawn, September 2nd, 2020

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