ISLAMABAD – Ministry for National Harmony is going to organise an international interfaith harmony conference in Islamabad in which the religious scholars, intellectual and people having different religious background would participate and give their suggestions to promote interfaith harmony throughout the world.

Minister In-charge for National Harmony, Dr Paul Bhatti, informed this during a conversation with a selected group of journalists at a dinner where a number of MNAs belonging to minorities were also present. Dr Bhatti was the host at the dinner. Prior to this, Dr Bhatti also held a meeting with the parliamentarians on the different issues being faced by minorities.

Dr Bhatti said the idea of organising the conference had been in the pipeline for the last many months but they had been facing budget constraints and now he had sought assurance from the government for the release of funds. “The event will be held very soon and we have invited religious leaders of different faiths from all over the world including Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Iran, Egypt, Indonesia, UK, US, Canada etc.,” he added. He said during the meeting with MNAs, he urged them to work jointly for the protection of the rights of the minorities.

The minister terming the media as weapon of peace for minorities and sought its effective role for the promotion of interfaith harmony and relationship to reduce intolerance in the society and building the soft image of the country at international level.

 He said minorities had no complaint with the media as it always stood by them in the need of hour and raised their issues and problems with objectivity.

Dr Paul said the government has empowered the minorities by giving them representation in the Senate as well following the efforts of ex-federal minister for minorities late Shahbaz Bhatti. Now it is the time we should play role of our part to work hard to bring the minorities in the main stream of the society.

MNA, Dr. Khatu Mal Jevan taking part in the conversation said how the Hindu community could be called minority as they had been living in Pakistan for centuries. He urged the government to preserve the centuries old temples in the country and declare them as national heritage.

Money generated from the Evacuee Trust Board should be spent on the welfare of the minorities and maintenance of their worship places, he suggested.

Asia Nasir, a parliamentarian from Balochistan, informed that as many as 5000 Hindu families had migrated from Pakistan during the last 10 years because of the problems faced by them here. He said that minorities always remained weak segments of the society in Pakistan, however, political unrest in the country had affected every one irrespective of faith. She expressed hope that the issues of the minorities would be addressed automatically after country would become politically stable.

MNAs, Ramesh Lal, Lal Chand, Dr Mahesh, Dr Araish and Kishan Chand Parwani were also present on the occasion.