SIALKOT - Federal Minister for National Regulation and Services Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan said that the minorities were enjoying complete religious freedom in Pakistan, adding that they are playing a key role in national peace, prosperity and development.

She was addressing the local Christian community after laying the foundation stone of a church building at village Chak Mandaahar. She donated a five-marla land for the construction of a church. The federal minister said the government was empowering the minorities to use their talent for national development. She said that Christmas gives a message of love, peace and compassion.

Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan further stated that the government had taken effective measures to safeguard the rights and privileges of the minorities of Pakistan. She also cut X-mass cakes during special ceremonies held at the local churches in villages Bhoth, Hunterpura and Sialkot, besides, distributing the X-mass gifts to the local Christians.

SUNFLOWER CROP: Sunflower crop will be sown on over 0.2 million acres of land in various parts of Punjab. The Agriculture Department has been making hectic efforts to motivate growers and farmers to sow oilseed crops including sunflower for making the country self-sufficient in edible oil and reduce import of edible oil.

Sources in the Agriculture Department told The Nation that at present 66 present of edible oil was being imported and only 34 percent of edible oil was produced within the country to meet the domestic demands. The Agriculture department was making adequate efforts that to motivate the farmers that they should bring their maximum land under sunflower crop including other oilseed crops for bringing down the import of edible oil. In Sialkot district, 5000 acres of land will be brought under sunflower crop cultivation while tehsil wise breakup is 2,000 acres in Pasrur, 2,000 acres Daska and 1000 acres in Sambrial tehsils. The Agriculture Department has directed the sunflower growers that they should use only recommended sunflower seeds for attaining maximum output of the crop.