ISLAMABAD - Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Syed Tariq Fatemi said on Thursday that there was a complete religious freedom in Pakistan.

In a meeting with Knox Thames, the US Department of State’s Special Adviser on Religious Minorities in the Near East and South and Central Asia, Fatemi said steps were taken by the government to ensure a more inclusive and progressive Pakistan.

He said that while the world was facing increasing xenophobia and hostility towards minorities, the policies of the government and it's across the board support has clearly shown that the nation has rejected the politics of hate and divisiveness.

Fatemi said Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s Holi message to the members of the Hindu community, address to religious scholars at Jamia Naeemia and his message on the occasion of Christmas, all serve to highlight the government’s unflinching resolve to fully protect the rights of the minorities, as guaranteed under the constitution of Pakistan.

Meanwhile, Pakistan on Thursday dispatched 10,000 MT rice to Sri Lanka in line with the prime minister’s directive to provide all necessary assistance in the wake of severe drought in that country.

“The procedure for the dispatch of 10,000 MT rice to Sri Lanka through containerized shipments, has been initiated. The first shipment out of 10,000 MT rice from Pakistan (sent on March 30) will reach Sri Lanka on April 3.

Earlier, 25 MT rice have already been dispatched to Colombo, on February 8 through PAF aircraft, as immediate short-term assistance,” said a foreign ministry statement.