LAHORE - Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf on Tuesday observed that politics was just another name for public service; and hurried to add that PPP and Jamaat-i-Islami had unanimity of views on service to the masses and this commonality could bring the two parties closer.

“The politics in Pakistan has been misconstrued which only meant service to the people,” he observed while addressing a mass marriage ceremony here at the Governor’s House.  The mass marriage ceremony of 50 couples was held under the auspices of Ameer Begum Welfare Trust (ABWT), run by Mian Manzoor Ahmed Wattoo, Federal Minister for Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan, and his daughter MPA Rubina Shaheen Wattoo.

The prime minister was of the view that the rich traditions of Pakistan were based on sacrifice and service to mankind. He said PPP’s politics and manifesto revolved around the downtrodden and the country’s riches were dependent on the welfare of the poor.  “The PPP and Jamaat-i-Islami shared similar ideologies regarding service to the masses,” Raja said and added that such commonality could bring them closer together.

Dispelling the impression that political parties and institutions were on a collision course, the prime minister said all had unanimity of views over the issues of social welfare.  He said the real face of Pakistan was not terrorism and extremism as was being wrongly perceived by the world, but that of a country with peace-loving traditions.

“A bleak picture in the media about Pakistan fighting terrorism  is not an honest reflection as the country is all about sacrifice, love, peace, brotherhood and tolerance,” he said.

The Prime Minister said only the people had the right to choose their leaders and elect governments. He stressed on the need for relying on the collective wisdom of all political parties and schools of thought to address problems being faced by the country. Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto had a firm belief that it could lead to a prosperous Pakistan, he added.

Ashraf said all the problems could be resolved with the collective efforts and the ABWT had set an example in this regard.

He said Pakistan was a beautiful land of traditions of self-sacrifice and service. The protection of human rights is imbibed in the culture of the country and the Punjabi Sufi poetry of Mian Muhammad Bakhsh teaches a message of protecting these rights at all costs, he added.

The PM felicitated the new couples and commended the ABWT for rendering a valuable service to the society. He also presented a ‘Salami’ of Rs 10,000 to each couple and had a group photograph with them.  The mass marriage ceremony was attended by Federal Minister for Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan and President PPP Central Punjab Mian Manzoor Ahmed Wattoo, Federal Minister for National Heritage and President PPP Lahore Samina Khalid Ghurki, Federal Minister for Science and Technology Changez Khan Jamali, Chairman Pakistan Bait-ul-Maal Zamurd Khan, Opposition Leader in the Punjab Assembly Raja Riaz Ahmed, PPP Punjab General Secretary Tanvir Ashraf Kaira, ex-MNA Dr Samia Raheel Qazi, Begum Mussarat Latif Khosa, APTMA Chairman Gohar Ijaz, PPP MNAs and MPAs, office-bearers and a large number of PPP workers.

Mian Manzoor Ahmed Wattoo, Zamurd Khan, Gohar Ijaz and ABWT Chairperson Rubina Shaheen Wattoo also spoke on the occasion.