Faisalabad: Msgr. Arshad, for "A Society of Peace"
by Kamran Chaudhry

The launch of the album is part of the 70th anniversary of Pakistan's independence. The songs "reflect the richness of culture and the country's various colors". Film maker: "Christians have played a decisive role. They do not deserve to be called a minority. "

Lahore (AsiaNews) - More than 700 Christians attended the ceremony for the release of Mgr. Joseph Arshad, bishop of Faisalabad's new album. The cd - with eight tracks - is called "Hum hain Pakistani" (We are Pakistani) and was entirely written and composed by the bishop who in 2015 launched his first musical effort.

Addressing the present, the bishop said: ""We all know what is happening in our society. I encourage youth to become the hope and change the fate of Pakistan. I strongly believe that together with one thought, we can achieve a preposterous, peaceful and an advanced country".

The launch ceremony took place in Lahore last July 25 and is part of the events organized for the 70th anniversary of Pakistan's independence, which is celebrated on 14 August. Archbishop Arshad reveals to AsiaNews that the songs "have been composed during my 14 years of diplomatic service to the Holy See in Malta, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Madagascar, Bosnia and Herzegovina." The album uses important collaborations with famous Pakistani singers, such as Ghulam Abbas (winner of Tamgha-i-Imtiaz, or Medal of Excellence, the country's fourth civil honor) and Humara Channa (winner of six Nigar Awards), and with Christian musicians.

In the official statement of the National Catholic Center for Social Communication, "the songs are based on the themes of nationalism, peace, interfaith harmony and reflect the richness of Pakistan's culture and shades." The Bishop of Faisalabad reports that one of the songs "is inspired by Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of the homeland, who spoke about equality of rights and freedoms for all religious minorities." Quoting Jinnah's words, Msgr. Arshad remembers his speech: "You are free to go to your temple; You are free to go to your mosque or any other place of worship in this state of Pakistan. To whatever religion, caste or faith to which you belong, there will be no discrimination or distinction. We are all citizens with equal rights."

According to Msgr. Sebastian Shah, bishop of Lahore, "the album invites us to reject selfishness and renew patriotism. I hope these songs will be sung on the streets of the country. Schools run by the Church have formed so many leaders and scientists. It is time to celebrate our 70th anniversary. " Shahzad Rafique, a film maker of Islamic religion, says that "music can help fight terrorism. It is rare to see a bishop using music to support harmony. He represented the feelings of all Pakistanis. Christians have played a significant role in the formation and development of the country and it is time for the authorities to recognize their service. They do not deserve to be called a minority. "