Minister for Human Rights Dr Shireen Mazari lights a candle during a vigil held in memory of the Sri Lankan factory manager who was lynched in Sialkot, Priyantha Kumara, in Islamabad on Saturday. — Online
Minister for Human Rights Dr Shireen Mazari lights a candle during a vigil held in memory of the Sri Lankan factory manager who was lynched in Sialkot, Priyantha Kumara, in Islamabad on Saturday. — Online

ISLAMABAD: Minister for Religious Affairs Dr Noorul Haq Qadri on Saturday said collective efforts were needed by all segments of society, including media and religious leaders, to prevent tragedies like the lynching of a Sri Lankan factory manager in Sialkot.

The minister called for promotion of interfaith harmony to counter internal and external conspiracies against Pakistan.

He was speaking as chief guest along with Minister for Human Rights Dr Shireen Mazari at a Christmas party organised by the National Press Club (NPC).

The event was attended by a large number of members of the Christian community. A 50-pound Christmas cake was also cut at the event and gifts were distributed among children.

Mazari says Muslims, minorities will have to work to enhance country’s global prestige

Dr Qadri said Christmas was the day of happiness for all but the real happiness of the day can be attained when we abide by the preaching of Hazrat Isa (Jesus Christ).

“Prophets spread teachings of love and forgiveness,” the minister said and added: “The Sialkot tragedy has to be condemned at all levels.”

He said those who tortured and killed Priyantha Kumara in the name of faith had not done any service but violated the principals of Islam.

Dr Mazari said Muslims, Christian and other minorities will have to work together for the stability of Pakistan and the rise of the country’s global prestige.

She said human rights, religious tolerance and brotherhood were common among all religions. She slammed religious extremism and called for tolerance in the society.

Afzal Butt, former PFUJ president, said religious teachings have to be visible in practice by the followers.

“This is a beautiful tradition of love and coherence that we have established in the NCP,” Mr Butt said.

He said it was the 17th Christmas celebrations at the NPC and as per the tradition Christian and other non-Muslim journalists participated in the events.

NPC President Shakeel Anjum and Secretary General Anwar Raza said the tradition should be taken as an example by other collective bodies.

They said members of the Hindu and Sikh communities had been offered by the NPC to celebrate Holi and Besakhi at the NPC along with Muslim and non-Muslim members of the club and their families.

Senator Talha Mehmood, Pakistan Hindu Council Chairman Ramesh Kumar Vankwani, CDA Trade Union General Secretary Chaudhry Yasin, Pastor Ansar Bhatti, social activist Albert David and others attended the event.

Published in Dawn, December 19th, 2021

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