Chaudhry Ahsan PremeeAssociated Press Service
ISLAMABAD: December 22, 2014;President Mamnoon Hussain urged on promoting interfaith harmony and forging the strong bond of national unity irrespective of belonging to any caste, sect or creed for standing united as one nation in confronting all the challenges that Pakistan faces today. The President said that all communities in Pakistan needed to stand together and support one another to tackle the grave challenges of extremism and militancy.
The President said this while addressing a Christmas function at Aiwan-e-Sadr organized by Ministry of Religious Affairs & Interfaith Harmony in connection with officially celebrating the religious festivals of minority communities in the country. Minister for Religious Affairs & Interfaith Harmony Sardar Muhammad Yousaf, State Minister for Religious Affairs & Interfaith Harmony Pir Amin-ul-Hassnat Shah, scores of ministers, member parliamentarians, diplomats and leaders of different communities graced the occasion.
The President said that Pakistan today is fighting an enemy who is bent upon exploiting every possible opportunity to weaken us and create fissures among our ranks. Therefore, it is high time that we revive our national spirit and re-pledge ourselves to stand together and repel the evil designs of our common enemy.
Speaking on the occasion, the President stated that the celebration of auspicious occasion of Holy Christmas has come at a time when the nation has recently undergone a great tragedy and trauma when barbarians attacked Army Public School in Peshawar and massacred innocent school children and teachers. The Peshawar tragedy is a reminder of the threat that we all face from the militants and extremists, added the President. Across the board condemnation of this cowardly and heinous attack, equally by all the non-Muslim communities of the country, has proved that Pakistanis are one nation without any distinction of caste and creed, noted the President.
Let this auspicious occasion also serve to unite us and to reiterate our commitment to never let our enemies exploit our differences; let us pledge today that whether we are Muslims, Christians, Hindus or we may belong to any other religion, we will always stand united on the issues of national importance and would confront our mutual enemy as one nation, stated the President.
The President said that Pakistan is a multicultural and pluralistic society where people belonging to different faiths have been traditionally living together in amity and mutual respect adding that the government is committed to take all possible steps for socio-economic uplift of people of various religions.
The President called for taking effective measures for removing distrust and misunderstandings among the followers of different religions and to foster greater understanding, tolerance and respect for all. In this regard, Ministry of Religious Affairs & Interfaith Harmony has been mandated to actively engage in constructive dialogue with scholars and leaders of all faiths to remove misunderstandings, added the President. The President also noted that the government has re-activated National Commission for Minorities as a practical and long term solution for achieving sustainable peace and interfaith harmony in the country.
The President also paid tribute to the immense contributions being made by non-Muslim minorities for the socio-economic development of the country. The President also wished Merry Christmas to Christian community in Pakistan and all over the world and prayed for their health and prosperity. May the New Year bring joy and well being for all of us, concluded the President.
Earlier, Minister for Religious Affairs & Interfaith Harmony Sardar Muhammad Yousaf in his address said that the Ministry is taking every possible measure to promote a unified, safe and peaceful vision of Pakistan by fostering religious forbearance and an attitude of tolerance. Wishing the Christian community Merry Christmas, the minister stated that the best way to celebrate and commemorate the birth of Prophet Christ would be to inculcate and practice the universal teachings of the Prophet on love, mercy, compassion, peace, equality and fraternity.