08/14/2018, 09.35
PAKISTAN
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Independence Day: the Pakistani Church calls for equal rights for all

by Kamran Chaudhry

Today the 71st anniversary of Independence from the British Empire is celebrated. The Church publishes messages in the media. Imran Khan will be sworn in as prime minister on 18 August. Priest: "The dream of the founder Jinnah will not be realized until religious minorities become an integral part of national politics".

 

Lahore (AsiaNews) - On the day Pakistan celebrates 71 years of independence, the Catholic Church asks through the media for the new government to recognize equal rights for all. 

Bishop Sebastian Shaw, archbishop of Lahore, said in a video message: "“Remember there are many sacrifices behind this happiness. Our founder Jinnah wanted all people to think above religion for the progress of Pakistan. There can be no peace without social rights. Only together we can end the ongoing crises in the country. We can only be free to dream new by reviewing the past mistakes. We pray for the new leadership so that every person gets equal rights.”

Catholic TV, run by Lahore Archdiocese, aired the message a few hours after the inaugural session of newly elected National Assembly in wake of July 25 general elections. Cricket legend Imran Khan is now all set to take the oath of prime minister of Pakistan on August 18. 

Father James Channan regional coordinator regional coordinator United Religious Initiative (URI) congratulated the new government while addressing August 13 interfaith Independence Day celebrations at Peace Center in Lahore. Both cleric sand Dominican brothers sang national anthems in the colorful ceremony. 

“Jinnah wanted a secular Pakistan. His dream will not be fulfilled unless the religious minorities become part of national mainstream. We demand that the new government include minority heroes in school textbooks,” he said. “The new government has many challenges both from outside and inside. However, the real change will only come after amendments in the constitution and introduction of pro minority legislatives.” 

Father Pascal Paulus, president of the Major Religious Superiors urged for the change of attitudes. “The PM in waiting refers to reserved seats for minorities as special seats. We are equal citizens. We demand that the new government supports interfaith initiatives and help us in expanding them. Think of us as one of your own,” he said.

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