LAHORE: The opening of Kartarpur corridor to facilitate the Sikh pilgrims to visit the birthplace of their guru Baba Nanak; and the release of Asia Bibi by Supreme Court of Pakistan shows that Pakistan is a minority friendly country, said by Punjab Minister for Human Rights and Minority Affairs Ejaz Alam Augustine in an interview with to the media.
“With the Minority Empowerment Package, we have fulfilled the demands of minorities for which they had longed for the last 70 years,” the minister Augustine said.
First time in the history of Pakistan, Christmas was celebrated officially in the country and Holi festival would be observed under the support of the government, he expressed. The minster said that he would visit Bahawalpur and Rahim Yar Khan to attend the Holi festival as most of Hindu population lived there.
According to the Punjab Minister for Human Rights and Minority Affairs, the minorities are safe in the country under the leadership of prime minster. Under the vision of Prime Minister Imran Khan, former Punjab Information Minster Fayyazul Hassan Chohan was removed from his ministry after anti-Hindu remarks, Ijaz Alam said.
The district committees for protection of human rights have been constituted by the Human Rights and Minorities Affairs Department. The committees will check police stations, schools and hospitals to monitor human rights violation across Punjab.
He told the media that the five per cent job quota for minorities could not be utilized because the candidates did not have required educational qualifications. “In view of that, we held a consultation meeting and announced Minority Empower Package which included implementation of job and education quotas, sentence remission system, skill development trainings, quota in the Naya Pakistan Housing Scheme and religious education in government schools for children from various faiths,” the minister said.
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“To monitor hate material, our representative will be in Punjab Curriculum Textbook Board. We are also focusing on skills development and have allocated Rs25 million for scholarships. We are also working on the development and housing schemes specifically for the minority community,” the minister said.
According to minister, education is top priority of PTI’s government and the educational institutions of minorities nationalized in the past would be returned to the minorities in phases. Murray College, Sialkot and Gordon College, Rawalpindi, will be handed over to the minorities, he added. The security of churches is responsibility of the government, he said and adding that no church would be closed over security reasons. He said licenses would be issued to the churches for security.
He uttered that no unpleasant incident happened in Punjab during the six months which shows security situation had improved in the province.