Pakistan to establish Interfaith Harmony Ministry

28Jun 2011
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ISLAMABAD- The government of Pakistan is likely to establish a new ministry after June 30 under the name of Interfaith Harmony Division headed by a federal minister following the devolution of ministry of minorities to the provinces under the 18th Amendment.

The government is mulling establishing the ‘interfaith harmony division’ as the parliamentarians belonging to minorities and international community have built up pressure on the government, sources revealed.

The sources said that Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani had given assurance to State Minister for Minorities Affairs Akram Masih Gill and other minorities’ parliamentarians for establishing new interfaith harmony division as retaining the ministry of minorities was out of question after the 18th Amendment.

The sources added that Gill and other minority leaders were not sure about the new division and they had expedited their efforts to keep the ministry intact. The sources in the ministry said Gill also had the support of international community on the issue, especially of France, as he had held many meetings with the ambassadors of France, Japan and other countries in Pakistan press his demand.

The issue of devolution of the ministry of minorities took a serious turn when Gill along with other members belonging to minorities staged a sit-in in front of the National Assembly speaker’s dice in Lower House of the Parliament during the budget session – one of the rare moments in the parliamentary history when a treasury member, also a state minister, staged a sit-in in the Assembly as a protest though Prime Minister Gilani’s reaction was strong when he warned that he would sack his cabinet member if he did not end his protest.

It is understood that Gill confirmed the PM’s assurance, saying: “The prime minister has given them assurance for the establishment of ‘ministry for interfaith harmony’ after the devolution of Ministry of Minorities. However, he proposed that Ministry of Minorities should be retained with the federal government through the 20th Amendment or Prime Minister had the power to carve out a new ministry with some new name such as ministry for non-Muslims.

Source: The Nation

Photo Credit: Flickr

Last Updated on Jun282011

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We, as leaders of  faith communities, need to develop a more inclusive view of the religious other, to recognise the humanity of the religious other as a starting point. We need to recognise the essential equality of all human beings regardless of religious beliefs. We need to affirm the mutuality and interdependency of all people... We may need even to extend this and recognise that religious other may, just may, have at least some access to the Truth. We may need to accept that the religious others also adopts more or less the same set of essential universal ethical-moral principles we share; that the religious other has feelings of pain and pleasure just like us; that the religious other has similar expectations about their children and family and the preservation of life, property and security; and that the religious other has the same fears and anxieties about the world and the future, just like us.