LAHORE - Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has said that religious minorities of subcontinent have got new confidence and courage due to creation of Pakistan. He said that Pakistan is a complete shelter for them where they have complete freedom and rights. He said that in an atmosphere of subcontinent drenched with cast and creed and ethical prejudices, Pakistan is a ‘safe haven’ for religious minorities where universal human values based on equality and love with humanity have great importance.

The CM said that religious minorities have been brought into national mainstream of development equally in Pakistan so that no one should lag behind in the race of development. He further said that elimination of poverty in the subcontinent is essential where everyone has equal opportunities of progress. He said that a separate department has been set up for the welfare of religious minorities in the province. He said that the department is playing an important role with regard to fulfilling the educational needs of non-Muslim students and welfare of the minorities.

He expressed these views while talking to a representative delegation of Dalit Scholars of South Asia here on Saturday.

Senator Pervaiz Rashid, Special Assistants Zaeem Hussain Qadri and Begum Zakiya Shahnawaz, prominent columnist Ata-ul-Haq Qasmi, Secretary Information and intellectuals were also present.

Shahbaz said that special importance has been given to the progress and prosperity of all religious minorities including Hindu community in Pakistan. Terming the religious minorities a pride of Pakistan, he said that special attention is being paid to the protection and looking after of religious and historical places of minorities. He said that Lahore, Taxila, Katas Raj, Pakpattan, Nankana Sahib, Hassan Abdal and other places in our country attract non-Muslims all over the world due to their religious and historical importance. Shahbaz said that scheduled cast community under the leadership of Jogindar Nath Mandal fully supported All India Muslim League during the struggle for creation of Pakistan. Similarly, Christian community also took part in the struggle of creation of Pakistan shoulder to shoulder with Quaid-e-Azam, he added. The CM said participation of non-Muslim community in the struggle for establishment of Pakistan was reflective of the fact that non-Muslim communities of subcontinent considered themselves more safe to live with Muslims in Pakistan. He said that besides setting up a separate department for their welfare, religious minorities are also fully benefiting from Punjab Educational Endowment Fund, Daanish School System, Aashiyana Housing Scheme and other such public welfare projects.

He said that Dr B R Ambedkar was the messenger of equality and human welfare in the subcontinent who have rendered invaluable services for the welfare of Dalit community.

Secretary of Indian National Dalit Forum Revi Kumar expressing his views on this occasion said that they can never forget the love and sincerity received in Pakistan. Coordinator of Bangladesh Dalit Pershad Bekash Das and General Secretary Ashok Das said that the hospitality of Pakistanis is unforgettable.

Prof Mujahid Mansoori said that Daanish School System is an excellent project of Punjab government due to which opportunities of quality education have become available to the poor male and female students.  Shahbaz Sharif also gave commemorative shields to the Dalit scholars.