PESHAWAR: Speakers at a consultative meeting on the rights of minority groups held here on Monday stressed the need for taking non-Muslims on board in legislative and policymaking process.

The meeting was arranged by National Commission for Human Rights’ (NCHR) Regional Office Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, wherein representatives of different groups shared their views about the rights of minorities and significance of interfaith harmony. They suggested necessary legislation in that regard.

NCHR member Tariq Javaid, its minority member Manzoor Masih, All Pakistan Hindu Rights Movement president Haroon Sarabdial, Peshawar’s chief Khateeb Maulana Tayyab Qureshi, Church of Pakistan Bishop Humphery Sarfaraz Peter, MPA Wilson Wazir and NCHR chairperson Rabia Javeria were the keynote speakers.

They condemned all types of religious extremism and stressed the need for taking pragmatic and immediate steps to control fanaticism. They referred to an incident occurred recently in Sialkot wherein a Sri Lankan citizen lost life, saying such happenings had brought bad name to the country.

Giving suggestions for effective measures to protect rights of minority groups, the speakers asked for including the representatives of non-Muslims in the policymaking bodies. They demanded of the government to review the national syllabus as it also gave ‘rise’ to religious extremism, and allow the minorities to contest elections on general seats as nominees of the political parties to play effective role in the legislative process.

The NCHR representatives said the Sialkot incident had been condemned widely by the government and people of all sects, saying Islam believed in interfaith harmony.

They said the government was truly following the tenets of Riyasat-i-Madina to ensure proper protection to the rights of non-Muslims and their properties in the country.

Published in Dawn, December 14th, 2021

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