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    » 08/11/2012, 00.00

    PAKISTAN

    Remembering Benazir Bhutto and Shahbaz Bhatti, Pakistan celebrates minorities



    On 11 August, the 65th anniversary of the historic Ali Jinnah's speech to the Assembly, is the day dedicated to non-Muslims. Minister Paul Bhatti: "We are part of one nation" and the goal is to create "a prosperous and united Pakistan." Minorities’ integration in the political and social landscape of the country.

    Islamabad (AsiaNews) - In spite of the different faiths professed, "We are part of one nation" that continues to march in order to create "a prosperous and united Pakistan", affirmed Paul Bhatti, Special Adviser to the Prime Minister for National Harmony.  He stressed the role of non-Muslims on the day dedicated to religious minorities, which is celebrated on 11 August in the whole country, the 65th anniversary of the historic speech by Mohammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of modern Pakistan, to the Assembly of the newborn State (held on 11 August 1947). The festival dedicated to minorities is inserted into the context of the words uttered by Qa'id-and-A'zam - as he is commemorated in his home nation - who repeatedly emphasized the contribution of minorities in the birth and development of the nation.

    Education, health, defense are just some areas where non-Muslims were known for their commitment and contribution to the cause of the country. However, in some cases they remain helpless victims of acts of terrorism, extremism and violence which continue unabated.

    In his message, the Minister for National Harmony recalled two major political figures in recent Pakistani history, killed at the hands of Islamic fundamentalists and Taliban movements. The former prime minister Benazir Bhutto and his brother Shahbaz Bhatti, a Catholic, minister for religious minorities assassinated March 2, 2011. Both were victims of fanaticism, famous for having dedicated their lives to the ideals of democracy, equality and peace in society. Shahbaz, in particular, wanted to remember their commitment against "discrimination, intolerance and religious extremism."

    "We can not retreat in the face of injustice - said Paul Bhatti - or the particular mindset of the Pakistanis who want to divide and destabilize the nation." He revived the plan of following in the footsteps of two great predecessors, Bhutto and Shahbaz, and confirmed that the government intends to take up the vision of the nation's founder and create an "enlightened, liberal, progressive and tolerant" Pakistan. Among the priorities to promote a true "interfaith harmony", which can only be reached through the "inclusion" of religious minorities in the political, social, institutional and financial life of the country.

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    See also

    04/11/2008 PAKISTAN
    Shahbaz Bhatti, a Catholic, is the new minister for the defense of minorities
    The Pakistani member of parliament has focused his political efforts on defending minority rights. He embraced the Catholic religion as a child, and counts on Christ in order to fulfill his new duties.

    21/04/2009 PAKISTAN
    Archbishop of Lahore: Sharia in the Swat Valley is contrary to Pakistan's founding principles
    Archbishop Saldanha denounces the violation of minority and women's rights. The archbishop expresses his concern "in matters concerning criminal justice," and denounces abuses and violence by the Taliban toward Christian, Sikh, and Hindu places of worship and schools. The Catholic Church supports the Muttahida Quami Movement, the only party that has opposed the "forces of darkness."

    20/05/2011 PAKISTAN
    Punjab, anti-Christian violence: nurses sequestered, families evicted from home
    A Muslim colleague steals mobile phone and cash, then accuses two nurses of theft. The women, held in solitary confinement for nine hours, were subjected to physical violence. Muslims raid homes of two families in Gujrat. The episode ordered by a former lawmaker who wants to take possession of the land. Muslim doctors refuse treatment to Christian policeman.

    08/08/2009 INDIA - PAKISTAN
    India, Christian leaders: Pakistan must abolish the blasphemy law
    In a letter addressed to Pakistani President Zardari, Indian Christians seek punishment for those responsible for violence in Korian and Gojra. They claim that the charges the Koran was desecrated are used as an excuse to "attack the minorities", while the mullahs "foment hatred and violence."

    15/11/2011 PAKISTAN
    Paul Bhatti: rights for Christians and dialogue with Muslims, in the footsteps of Shahbaz
    The Special Adviser to the Prime Minister warns that provoking extremism is not the right way to solve the problems of Christians. He promotes a policy of dialogue, capable of restoring "unity" to civil society and the country. The international community's support and the meeting with the leaders of the Islamic world. Faith in Christ, to follow in the footsteps of his brother’s vocation.



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