25 March 2017
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  • » 01/07/2017, 12.33

    PAKISTAN

    "Christmas Train for peace" between Muslims and Christians to Faisalabad

    Shafique Khokhar

    The initiative stems from a joint project between Islamabad and the Ministry for Human Rights. The convoy departed from Rawalpindi on December 22. The carriages decorated festively with garlands, banners, Christmas trees, a Nativity Scene. Similar efforts "can build bridges between people professing different faiths."

    Faisalabad (AsiaNews) - The Christmas train to promote peace between Christians and Muslims arrived in Faisalabad, Pakistani Punjab, greeted by a cheering crowd of hundreds of people, including ordinary people and authorities.

    The train is a joint initiative of the government in Islamabad and the Ministry for Human Rights, headed by Christian Kamran Michael. In front of the audience, he said: "I am really very happy that government of Pakistan has taken such great step for its minorities and I congratulate you all for experiencing such great thing on the eve of Christmas. It is a unique initiative to boost the campaign for harmony and peace. Through this Christmas peace train we give powerful message to haters who do not tolerate followers of other religions. I assure you that government will think of more ways to endorse religious harmony in future as well".

    The convoy, made up of five carriages, departed from Rawalpindi station December 22. It touched Peshawar, Lahore, Multan and Karachi. The train was decked with garlands, banners, Christmas trees, cardboard with the representation of the Nativity, with statues from the largest churches in the country.

    Upon arrival, hundreds of children, women, youth and the merely curious flocked to the sides of the train to take selfies and shout slogans of peace and participate in the festivities with music and dancing.

    Wajahat Masood, a well-known columnist and activist, praised both Christians and Muslims for having given birth to such a project. "It is a gesture really admirable - tells AsiaNews - that the government of Pakistan wished to participate in the joy of Christmas. This initiative is a proof that Pakistan respects its minority community and celebrates the festivals of minorities very well. These kinds of steps taken by government will enrich confidence of religious minorities and they will own the country by their heart as always they owned since the Pakistan came into existence. The love minorities have now for their country, no message of hate can erase it ever. I congratulate both Christians and Pakistan government on this successful effort".

    Christian activist, Shazia George, adds: "There is a great need to promote the message of religious harmony at present, when terrorism and hate prevail, and the government and ministry of human rights through this effort  has given a strong message that our nation want peace and coexistence. I really wish that these kinds of steps be taken in future as well, because these kinds of initiatives will become a bridge among different kinds of communities having different faith to come closer and celebrate all festivals peacefully".

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    See also

    19/12/2011 PAKISTAN
    Poetry symposium in Faisalabad to promote Islamic-Christian dialogue
    In anticipation of Christmas, the diocese organised a conference on the ‘Birth of the Prince of Peace’. About 125 Christians and Muslims attend the event, including priests, nuns and poetry lovers. Peace was one of the main themes. For Fr Aftab, poetry has “no boundaries”.

    05/02/2008 PAKISTAN
    Places of worship for non-Muslims in Pakistani prisons
    Human rights minister ends a tour of the country’s prisons. He plans to reform the correctional service and include places of worship for non-Muslims. Human rights activists praise the initiative but want a judicial review of all cases involving people detained on the basis of discriminatory laws.

    30/07/2011 PAKISTAN
    Islamabad, Ministry for Religious Minorities restored
    Recently abolished as part of constitutional reform, it will be called "Ministry of National Harmony" and will be entrusted to the Catholic Akram Gill. The Ministry formally headed by Shahbaz Bhatti tasked with promoting peace, tolerance and interfaith dialogue. The Catholic minister enlists the help of young people to build a peaceful world.

    28/04/2006 PAKISTAN
    Human rights in Pakistan, not UN Council, should worry government, say Pakistani bishops

    As the government prepares to join a new United Nations' Human Rights Council, the National Commission for Justice and Peace notes that its pledges are vague and insufficient. It urges the government to ratify international treaties before applying to join the Council.



    29/10/2004 PAKISTAN
    Christians and Muslims together to defeat the culture of violence




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