US Senators’ delegation calls on Akram Masih Gill

Islamabad: Minister of State for National Harmony Akram Masih Gill has said minorities are enjoying complete rights of religious freedom in Pakistan. Optional holidays and celebration of the festivals of minorities are observed at official level. Steps are being taken for the protection of their rights as well.

He expressed these views while talking to an 8-member delegation of US Senators headed by Robert P. Casey called on him here on Saturday to discuss religious freedom and minorities rights.

The minister welcomed the delegation and appreciated the interest the delegation is showing in religious freedom and minorities rights.

The minister said ministry of national harmony has recently been formed after the devolution of the ministry of minorities’ affairs to the provinces under the 18th amendment, which was widely appreciated by all the minorities.

The decision to form new ministry reflects the commitment of the government for the social uplift, economic empowerment of the minorities and remove discrimination against them, the minister added.

The minister said the government has taken many steps for the protection and promotion of minorities’ rights like the reservation of 5% quota in government services, reservation of four seats for minorities in the Senate, declaration of 11th August as the Minorities Day, including observance of optional holidays and celebration of the festivals of minorities at official level.

He said separate places have been allocated for minorities in jails so that they can comfortably perform their religious rituals. Interfaith committees have been formed at 124 districts in order to address any emergency issue of minorities.

The purpose of the interfaith committees is to promote better relationship among people of different faiths, to hold seminars, workshops and conferences to promote peace and understanding as grassroots level and to recommend peaceful co-existence in the society.

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