KARACHI: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has said the Hindi community and all minorities have freedom of religion and equal right to development and progress in the country.
Addressing a gathering held to celebrate the festive occasion of Holi, Nawaz Sharif said that was delighted to visit them two years ago when he had told them that he was their prime minister as well.
PM Sharif announced 500 million rupees for the welfare of the Hindu community. He said that health cards should be started in Sindh, while the federal government has initiated development projects in Karachi.
“Holi is a festival of happiness, if there are feeling then it is like a withered flower,” he said. He congratulated the Hindu community on the festive occasion of Holi and to join them in their happiness.
“Everyone irrespective of caste, creed, and religion is equal in Islam,” he said. There are the teachings of the Holy Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him). He said Islam gives equal importance to the lives and properties of every individual.
The prime minister said that minorities have been given freedom of religion and equal opportunities. He said that there is no compulsion in religion, and he views forced conversions as a criminal offence. He added that the constitution of Pakistan also provides freedom of religion, and equal rights and opportunities to all citizens.
PM Sharif said this is in accordance to the vision of Father on the Nation Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah who created the country not solely for Muslims, but for all other minorities to co-exist and live peacefully. He quoted the August 11, 1948 speech by Quaid-e-Azam who said “You are free to go your temples, or any other place of worship. That has nothing to do with the business of the state.”
He added that it is the responsibility of the state to defend the lives and properties of all citizens including minorities, which was not just an ordained duty but a religious responsibility.
He assured them that they were not against other but were rather united in the war against bigotry, extremism and terrorism. He assured the Hindu community that the government will take further steps to safeguard their rights and place of worship.
“If there is every any attack on a temple, then I will stand with you,” assuring to support them against all extremism. “All religions teach us humanity, and we can only be true Muslims when he follow on those teaching,” he said.
He added that it is responsibility of everyone in Pakistan to make it peaceful country. He called for unity to take the country forward and to cope with the challenges of the modern world.