Pakistan’s Muslim leaders hail the appointment of Pakistani churchman as cardinal. On May 20, Sunday Pope Francis announced that he will elevate 14 churchmen to the rank of cardinal. Archbishop of Karachi Joseph Coutts is among these 14 who will be officially raised to the rank of cardinal on June 29.
The news is welcomed by the Pakistanis. Not only that the Christians in Pakistan are celebrating but the Muslims and Hindus are also hailing this a great honor for Pakistan. In this regard, Director of the Inter-religious Commission Peace and Harmony in Karachi, Allama Mohammad Ahsan Siddiqui stated: “I have worked alongside Archbishop Coutts for the last 11 years. The choice to appoint him Cardinal is a great honor for the entire nation of Pakistan. We support him in building and promoting love, peace and harmony and unity in Pakistan. We will soon organize a large inter-religious gathering dedicated to His Eminence Joseph Cardinal Coutts”.
Hafiz Naeem-ur-Rehman, from “Jammat-e-Islami” Karachi chapter expressed a dire to meet Archbishop Joseph Coutts to congratulate him and reiterate the commitment to “spread love and peace”. He urged that after being raised to the rank of a cardinal Joseph Coutts should go all-out for establishment of peace in Kashmir and Palestine.
Representing the Hindu community, Ravi Dass Vaghela, who is media coordinator of the Shri Ram Devji Mandir in Karachi, and member of “Master peace Pakistan” organization stated: “Pope Francis has chosen the perfect man from Pakistan: a man with his feet on the ground, admirable for his simplicity and humility. This decision will strengthen harmony in Pakistan”. On behalf of Pakistani Hindu community, he expressed congratulations to Archbishop of Karachi.
Chairman of Pakistan People’s Party Bilawal Bhutto Zardari wrote: “we cannot wait to work together with Cardinal Coutts in a peaceful and tolerant Pakistan”. Chief Minister of Sindh Syed Murad Ali Shah, called on the Archbishop of Karachi along with his team. He congratulated Archbishop Joseph Coutts. Several other religious and civil leaders welcomed the announcement and expressed joy.