Pakistan committed to protecting minority rights, PM Abbasi greets Hindus on Diwali | world-news | Hindustan Times
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Pakistan committed to protecting minority rights, PM Abbasi greets Hindus on Diwali

The Pakistan government is committed to protecting the rights of minorities and promoting a society free from any discrimination, Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said in his Diwali message.

world Updated: Oct 20, 2017 18:33 IST
Imtiaz Ahmad
Pakistani Hindu families decorate their house to celebrate Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, in Karachi on October 19, 2017.
Pakistani Hindu families decorate their house to celebrate Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, in Karachi on October 19, 2017.(AP Photo)

As Pakistan’s Hindus celebrated Diwali, Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said in a message that his government is committed to protecting the rights of minorities and promoting a society free from any discrimination.

“The government of Pakistan is committed to the welfare of the minorities and safeguarding their fundamental rights,” Abbasi said in his Diwali message. He called on religious leaders to play their role in promoting interfaith harmony.

“I sincerely wish that may the festival of lights bring happiness and peace in the lives of all those who are celebrating this day,” he said in the message on Thursday while extending greetings to Hindus across Pakistan and abroad.

Abbasi said, “Let us never forget that no religion teaches hatred and violence. Indeed, every religion stands for promoting peace, harmony and love for humanity…We remain committed to promote a society free from any discrimination based on caste or creed.”

A majority of Pakistan’s Hindu minority lives in southern Sindh province, where a holiday was declared for the community. Most Hindus celebrated the day with visits to mandirs, which were specially illuminated for the occasion.

Mazars too were busy as many Hindus pray at these graves of saints alongside Muslims on special days.

Member of parliament Ramesh Kumar Vankwani, who is patron-in-chief of the Pakistan Hindu Council, told the media that Hindus across Pakistan had celebrated Diwali “without any tensions”.

At the same time, he said he had written to the prime minister about incidents of Hindu women being kidnapped and forcibly converted to Islam. The other issue that was highlighted, he said, was the Hindu Marriage Act that has been passed by the Senate but still has some loopholes for the conversion of Hindus to Islam.