Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani. - AFP File Photo

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani on Tuesday said the government was committed to the welfare of minorities and took a number of practical steps in this regard.

Addressing a function organised by All Pakistan Minorities Alliance on first death anniversary of Shahbaz Bhatti here at Convention Centre, the prime minister said reservation of four seats for minorities in Senate and reservation of 5 per cent quota in government jobs for them are some of the achievements of the government to ensure equal rights to the minorities.

He said late Shahbaz Bhatti contributed a lot for the cause and rights of his people and his struggle for his people is memorable.

The premier said it was also the contribution of Bhatti to declare 11th August, as Minority Day and the government decided to celebrate religious functions at official level.

He said prayer rooms have been established in all prisons of Pakistan and vernacular name of Christians was changed from Essahi to Masihi on the suggestion of Bhatti.

Gilani said people have hopes from democracy adding “I also believe that with the message of interfaith harmony going across, we will be able to eliminate the impact of extremism successfully and emerge as a stronger and prosperous nation.”

Referring to the role of religious scholars, the prime minister said, “I must appreciate the role of the scholars of different faiths who have consistently professed and practiced the ideals of integrity and harmony within the country.”

He said the founder of Pakistan Muhammad Ali Jinnah, in his first speech to the Constituent Assembly, on 11th August, 1947 had issued the first charter for rights of minorities and the present government was following it in true spirit.

The prime minister said today, the country is at a juncture where it is confronted with multi-dimensional threats of terrorism, extremism, and intolerance.

He said there is an urgent need to remove distrust and misunderstandings among the followers of different religions for fostering greater understanding, tolerance and respect for all.

Opinion

Editorial

Debt trap
Updated 30 May, 2024

Debt trap

The task before the government is to boost its tax-to-GDP ratio to the global average by taxing the economy’s untaxed and undertaxed sectors.
Foregone times
30 May, 2024

Foregone times

THE past, as they say, is a foreign country. It seems that the PML-N’s leadership has chosen to live there. Nawaz...
Margalla fires
30 May, 2024

Margalla fires

THE Margalla Hills — the sprawling 12,605-hectare national park — were once again engulfed in flames, with 15...
First steps
Updated 29 May, 2024

First steps

One hopes that this small change will pave the way for bigger things.
Rafah inferno
29 May, 2024

Rafah inferno

THE level of barbarity witnessed in Sunday’s Israeli air strike targeting a refugee camp in Rafah is shocking even...
On a whim
29 May, 2024

On a whim

THE sudden declaration of May 28 as a public holiday to observe Youm-i-Takbeer — the anniversary of Pakistan’s...