ISLAMABAD — As Christians across the country celebrate the festive occasion of Christmas amid tight security on Tuesday, the president, prime minister, army chief and other top government officials extended their felicitations and warmest wishes to members of the community.
December 25 is also the 142nd birthday of the founder of Pakistan, who during runup to the creation of the country on August 14, 1947 had said “the minorities, to whichever community they may belong, will be safeguarded in Pakistan. Their religion, their faith and belief will be protected in every way possible. Their life and property will be secured.”
The newly-elected Prime Minister Imran Khan on the occasion assured minority communities that they would be treated as equal citizens in Naya Pakistan “unlike what is happening in India”.
The prime minister on Tuesday tweeted that “Naya Pakistan is Quaid’s Pakistan and will ensure that our minorities are treated as equal citizens, unlike what is happening in India.”
He added that Jinnah had envisaged Pakistan as a “democratic, just and compassionate” nation.
“Most importantly, he wanted our minorities to be equal citizens. It should be remembered that his early political career was as an ambassador for Hindu Muslim unity,” the premier said, adding that Jinnah’s struggle for a separate nation for Muslims only began when he realized that Muslims would not be treated as equal citizens by the Hindu majority.
It is the second time in a week that the prime minister has highlighted the treatment of minorities in India. On Saturday, the premier had asserted that Pakistan would ensure equal rights to all minorities and show Indian premier Narendra Modi’s government “how we treat the minorities in Pakistan in stark comparison to the minorities’ status in India”.
He had said that in India voices were being raised about the discriminatory treatment of minorities there.
COAS Bajwa, while wishing Merry Christmas to the entire Christian community in Pakistan, acknowledged the role of Christian brethren not only towards the creation of Pakistan but also for their contributions towards its progress.
Days earlier, the army chief cautioned that an unannounced hybrid war against Pakistan has been initiated by the country’s enemies, warranting a totally new approach, need for superior narratives and change of traditional mindset.
General Bawja said enemies have initiated the subversive phase of the hybrid war even as efforts are made to tackle the terrorism and sabotage phase of the hybrid campaign.
Reiterating the armed forces’ resolve to maintain peace in the country, the army chief regretted that the youth of the nation is being targeted at times by protagonists who are “our own people”.
“Mostly misguided by ambitions, blinded by hate, ethnicity or religion or simply overawed by social media onslaught, some of our own boys and girls readily fall victim to such dangerous or hostile narratives,” the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) quoted General Qamar as saying at the passing out parade of the 110th Midshipmen and 19th Short Service Course held at Naval Academy last Saturday in the port city.
Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry in a statement felicitating the Christian community on Christmas said the protection of the rights of minorities is among the top priorities of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf government, according to a Radio Pakistan report.