PM Nawaz speaks out strongly against religious persecutionPakistan
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Wednesday said the day is not far when Pakistan will be recognised as a "minorities-friendly country" and that his government is taking steps to improve the lives of under-represented religious groups.
The premier said his government, through its actions, promotes the belief that 'to each his own faith', adding that humanity is what should bind the nation together.
He was speaking at a ceremony at the Katas Raj temples complex in Chakwal.
He further said followers of all religions have equal rights in Pakistan, noting that they had worked hand-in-hand to defend the country and contribute to its peace and prosperity.
The PM said he has advised his officials to spare no effort in hosting non-Muslim pilgrims and ensuring the protection and expansion of their places of worship.
He also said he would lend his full support for the construction of the Baba Guru Nanak and Gandhara universities.
The PM observed that Islam and all other religions preach peace, and those preaching otherwise were not doing a service to their religion, Radio Pakistan reported.
PM Sharif made frequent references to Islamic history to stress that it was part of the Islamic faith to treat minorities equally.
He recalled that when, in the early days of Islam, after Muslims migrated to Madina to escape persecution and came into power, they treated the "minorities living there with respect". He said Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) even declared those minorities "one nation" along with Muslims.
He said the Holy Quran states that God is the God of everyone and not just the Muslims, adding that there should be no distinction on the basis of caste, colour or creed because "we are all one as human beings".
PM Sharif reiterated that he was the prime minister of all Pakistanis and "not just Muslim Pakistanis".
The premier earlier inaugurated a water filtration plant at the Katas Raj temple.
The filtration plant, set up at the temple's holy Amrat Jal pond, will provide clean drinking water to visiting Hindu pilgrims.
Sharif also planted a sapling on the temple's premises.
He visited different sections of the temple and was briefed about their historic significance.
Minister for Religious Affairs Sardar Yusuf and ETPB Chairman Siddiqul Farooq accompanied the prime minister.