Minorities day in Pakistan:
Government has declared 11th August, as “Minorities Day”.
Minorities day got an official recognization in 2009 by the efforts of former minister of Pakistan’s minorities affairs Shehbaz clement Bhatti who was killed on march 2 2011 by tehreek e Taliban in Islamabad.
The National Minorities Day was celebrated across the country on 11th August by the religious minorities officially. Events were organized by the minority groups while government also celebrated the day with a pledge to safeguard fundamental rights, safety, security, honor, life, liberty and property of the minorities.
The founder of Pakistan Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah in his speech to Constituent Assembly on August 11, 1947, had clearly laid down the outlines of the type of state he visualized Pakistan to become. “You are free; you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or any other places of worship in this state of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed – that has nothing to do with the business of the state.” The speech clearly indicated that Pakistan was to be a pluralist society.
At this occasion President Zardari assures equal rights of minorities. In a message on Minorities Day, the President said the recognition and respect for the minorities rights is part of the Pakistan Peoples party’s Manifesto. He said it is an occasion to recognize the important role, played by the minorities of Pakistan in nation-building, the sacrifices rendered by them, and the problems and issues, faced by members of minorities. He further said that Islam and all other religions gave lots of stress over equality, social justice and respect for human rights
“”The President also said that August 11 also has a special significance in the national calendar. He mentioned that it was on this day in 1947 when the Father of the Nation, Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, in his historic speech to the members of the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan, had laid down the foundations of a modern, tolerant and progressive Pakistan in which every one will have equal rights, regardless of creed, caste and gender. He said Minorities Day is an opportunity that reminds to reaffirm solidarity for the betterment of humanity and for a prosperous Pakistan.””
Addressing a function, Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani said, the present democratic government stands committed to ensure equal rights for all minority communities as enshrined in Constitution of Pakistan and UN Declaration of Human Rights.
“He said, “It is our moral, religious and social obligation to strengthen the bond of love and promote culture of tolerance in the country.” The Prime Minister said minorities are partners in development of Pakistan and are rendering valuable services in different fields of life including defense, education, health and social welfare. “The objective of celebrating the day at the national level is to acknowledge contribution of the minorities in different walks of national life, highlight their rights and promote inter-faith harmony,” he said.”
Gilani also quoted a very famous incident from the Islamic history, to illustrate the spirit of harmony and brotherhood between Islam and minorities.
He narrated that once a 40-member Christian delegation from Nijran came to hold dialogue with the Holy Prophet (PBUH). The Holy Prophet (PBUH) treated them as his personal guests and made them stay in the Prophet’s Mosque. When the members of delegation enquired about the place to pray, the Prophet (PBUH) allowed them to pray in the Prophet’s Mosque in accordance with their religious requirements, the Prime Minister said.
Minister of State for National Harmony, Akram Masih Gill said that “it is the day when the father of nation laid down the foundation of a progressive, modern and a democratic Pakistan. The founder of the nation, Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah made a solemn pledge at the time of creation of Pakistan that the policy of equality, freedom and security for all communities shall be practiced”
In a statement issued here on Wednesday in connection with Minorities Day, he said that equating Christians of Pakistan with Europeans or Americans was a wrong notion. Bishop said that discrimination and prejudice were impediments to building communities perceptions towards interfaith harmony and peace. All minorities deserve fair representation in public policies and decision making bodies both levels at federal and provincial.