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Nawaz for unity to weed out religious hatred

22 December, 2013

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LAHORE: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Saturday stressed the need for forging unity and promoting interfaith harmony to eliminate religious hatred, terrorism and extremism.

Addressing a function in connection with Christmas at Governor's House, Nawaz Sharif said that all religions, including Islam and Christianity, aimed at purification of the soul.

He said that Muslims have faith in Jesus Christ as the prophet of God and a Muslim's belief could not be completed until he believes in all holy books, including the Bible, as well as all prophets.

The prime minister said that exploitation of religion created hatred among followers of various faiths that ultimately disturbed social peace, adding that a "handful of elements are hell-bent on spreading religious hatred and creating sectarianism by exploiting religion and unfortunately such elements also exist in Pakistan". "The elements attacking churches and mosques and other worship places do not have belief/faith or respect for holy places. We must have to obstruct the way of the elements by forging unity in our ranks and promote interfaith harmony," he said. He said the birth of Jesus Christ was a clear message of peace and security for humanity and his teachings were a beacon of light that enlightened the world. "Islam also advocates love, peace, harmony, fraternity and tolerance," he said, asserting that interfaith harmony could be promoted by taking forward religious commonalities.

The prime minister said that Christians and other minorities had been playing an active role in the development of Pakistan and prosperity of the people since its inception.

"The constitution of Pakistan provides equal opportunities to minorities living in Pakistan," he said and cited that Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah and the Pakistan Resolution also emphasised equal rights for minorities.

The prime minister said the PML-N government was formulating and implementing policies to ensure equal rights for all citizens irrespective of their colour, caste and creed. "The government also discouraged discrimination on the basis of religion, caste and colour in its recently launched PM's youth programme," he said and advised the minority youth to benefit from the opportunity.

End.

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