KATAS RAJ - Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has said that his government is pursuing a policy to establish Pakistan’s identity as a minority-friendly country.

Nawaz on Wednesday said safeguarding rights of religious minorities in the country would be ensured and every effort would be made to give them due status in the society.

Nawaz who earlier inaugurated a water filtration plant at Katas Raj Temple said humanity was the greatest religion of all and nobody was permitted to discriminate on the basis of caste, colour and creed.

Nawaz said being the prime minister of all Pakistanis it was his religious obligation to take care of every citizen of the country without any discrimination.

He said Islam in particular forbade anyone from calling bad names to other religions and their places of worship.

“Salam, Namaste, Sat Sri Akaal and good morning to all my brothers belonging to different religions,” Nawaz greeted the audience, receiving a cheerful applause.

Nawaz said the multi-faith gathering was reflective of inter-faith harmony in the country and said while everyone was free to pursue his particular religion as they all had a common objective of taking care of the humanity.

Nawaz said in earlier days of Islam, Muslims being a minority had to face a very tough time and were forced to go in exile, however, on their return from Madinah becoming a majority, they took good care of people believing in other faiths.

He said Holy Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) entered into several agreements with people of other faiths including tribes of Yasrab and with Jews.

He regretted some religious leaders fanned sentiments of hatred among people in sheer misinterpretation of Islam.

Nawaz said the history of Katas Raj Temple was over 5,000 years old and was a focal point of four civilisations including Hinduism, Sikhism, Buddhism and Christianity.

He mentioned that Persian scholar and polymath Al-Beruni at the same place had computed earth’s circumference.

Nawaz directed Chairman of the Evacuee Trust Board to take care of the properties of the minorities and ensure they were in the best possible condition. He said all efforts must be made to restore Katas Raj Temple to its original condition so as to preserve its historic significance.

He asked Siddiqul Farooq to benefit from the remaining one and half year of his government’s tenure and do his best in providing all possible facilities to the religious minorities.

Nawaz said Islam also forbade people in levelling baseless allegations against others with a malicious intent and said such negative trends were harming the society and detrimental to progress and development.

He referred to the daily “mud-slinging” by some media persons on television and said they were a cause of creating despondency in the nation.

Nawaz said when he took over the country was mired in serious issues, however, with persistent efforts and commitment, his government was able to successfully tackle these. He mentioned loadshedding, poor road network, terrorism and several other challenges that were addressed by his government.

He said his government was even building major roads in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, despite their (PTI) claims for “making a new Pakistan”.

He said travel time from Peshawar to Karachi through the six-lane motorway would be cut drastically and people would be able to go from one place to other in a day. He regretted previous governments failed to undertake any major project.

He recalled he earlier in the day handed over 200 buses for the students of all educational institutions in Islamabad. He specified buses would benefit all students, belonging to all faiths.