Pakistani Leadership uses Christmas to put a light on minority rights

Wilson Chowdhry with 1st Secretary Dildar Ali Abro at Pakistan High Commission in London during November 2018

PAKISTAN: PTI Leadership use Christmas to put a light on minority rights

Pakistan’s leadership both Punjab and Islamabad are making efforts over the Christmas season to show goodwill towards religious minorities in some
policy statements made on 22nd and 23th of December.

The Alhamra Arts Council held a ceremony in Lahore attended by Punjab Minister for Information and Culture Fayazul Hassan Chohan on 22nd December a
few days before Christmas.

During the event he gave assurances that like Muslim festivals are safeguarded that the minorities’ festivals would likewise be protected. (click here) He described Christmas as a festival that “teaches
a lesson of unity, peace and love.”

Christian employees working in Alhamra Arts Council were also said to have been given holiday pay in advance of Christmas. The information minister
along with Lahore Arts Council executive director cut cake and expressed a special greeting to the Christian employees. 

Lahore University also held a Christmas event attended later the same day by the Minister Chohan where he expressed the party policy of the PTI to
reduce alienation of minorities. 

In Islamababd the Federal Minister for Human Rights Dr. Shireen Mazari announced a helpline the following day saying that free legal aid would be given
to any minority suffering a violation of their human rights.

She asserted that the protection of minority and human rights are a priority for PTI and she also mentioned the personal laws for non-Muslims such
as a Christian divorce law that will contribute to improving the rights of Christians. (click here)

Wilson Chowdhry said:

“I welcome these well wishes by the Honourable Ministers but speeches and good intentions are not enough to enact change. Often there are talks about gender equality and promotion of educational access that do not trickle down to minorities.”  

“I hope to hear what standards are being used to train and vet those manning the reporting line, as well as what follow up measures would be taken should a report be made.”

“I have requested a meeting with the High Commissioner of Pakistan today, I look forward to meeting the Pakistani High Commission in January to further discuss how human rights can be bolstered in Pakistan.  

“I will of course use such a meeting to thank the Government of Pakistan for their new initiatives and navigate through the many concerns we have to help improve their chances for success.

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