LAHORE           -      Provincial Minister for Human Rights and Minority Rights Ijaz Alam Augustine  has said that pro-minorities legislation, economic empowerment, better higher  education, sentence remissions, effective control against hate material, promotion of religious tourism and skill development of youth have been hallmark achievements of Pakistan Tehreek e Inssaf (PTI) government during first two-years of its rule in Punjab. In an interview with APP here on Sunday, he said awareness, education and empowerment of the minorities had been the agenda of government and the  implementation of the Human Rights Policy 2018 had been the main breakthrough  to introduce minority welfare projects in the province. “Legislation on Forced Conversion of minorities and Remission of sentence  on Religious Festivals have been significant achievements of the Punjab government  under Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar”, he responded.

He further said, only Muslim prisoners were granted sentence remission on religious  festivals like Eids, but the PTI government, through legislation had made it possible  that Christian prisoners besides Hindus, Sikhs and other minorities in all Punjab jails.

To another query, Augustine said Kartarpur corridor was a significant proof of PTI  government’s belief in the religious freedom of minorities and it has embarked on another project to develop Youhanabad – the largest populated area of Christian minorities in Asia- and Rs 3000 million had been earmarked for the project.

To a question, the Minister said that a grant of Rs 100 million had been allocated  for the renovation and beautification of holy sites of minorities to promote religious tourism in the country, adding that the government had plans to promote a Christian site in Taxila where one of Jesus Christ disciples Saint Thomas’ relics were placed  at a museum.

On Education, he said the minority students had been allowed quota in admissions  to higher education institutions, besides scholarships through Punjab Education Endowment Fund (PEEF), adding that deprivations of minority members could only  be overcome through education.

He said the PTI government had also inducted a minority representative in the Punjab  Curriculum and Textbook Boards (PCTBs) to check publication of hate material against minorities”, he responded to a query on hate material against minorities.

About effective control of human rights violations, Augustine said the ministry had set a portal through which a complaint could be lodged immediately, adding that he personally led a raid to rescue a girl detained for years by her brothers in Mandi Bahauddin. 

He further said the enforcement across the province had been made  effective and a minor human rights violation was reported in the far-flung districts  like Rajanpur.

To a query, Provincial Minister Human Rights and Minority Affairs hailed minorities  for their role in the renewal of GSP-Plus status to Pakistan by the European Parliament (EP). 202-Performance-infrastructure.txt