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Pakistan will soon be recognised as “minorities-friendly country,” says PM Nawaz Sharif, orders renovation of Hindu Shrines

Nawaz Sharif emphasizes on the minority-friendly policies of Pakistan government

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Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Wikimedia
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Islamabad, Jan 11, 2017: Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, in a statement on Wednesday said, Pakistan will soon be recognised as a “minorities-friendly country”, as he ordered the start of the renovation of Katas Raj temple complex, one the most sacred places for Hindus in the country with Muslim majority.

Pakistan is adapting a number of policies to establish the country’s identity as a minority-friendly country and providing equal rights to the followers of all religions in the country, Sharif stated while speaking at the Katas Raj Temples Complex in Chakwal.

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“The day is not far when Pakistan will be recognised as a minorities-friendly country due to steps being undertaken to better the lives of minority groups,” he was quoted as saying during his speech.The Prime Minister said he had advised the Pak government officials to spare no efforts in playing host to pilgrims and take measures for the protection and expansion of minorities’ places of worship.

He also said he was the Prime Minister of everyone and “not just Muslims” and instructed Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) chairman Siddiqul Farooq to renovate the holy sites in the area to their original state.

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He would ensure his full backing for the construction of Baba Guru Nanak and Gandhara universities, Sharif added.

Sharif referred to historic examples to point out that it was a part of the Islamic faith to treat the majority and minorities with equal care and importance.He acknowledged the fact that Muslims, Christians, Hindus, Sikhs, Parsis have all been working hand-in-hand to protect the country and contribute their share to its peace, prosperity and growth.

Sharif showed up at the Katas Raj temple complex in Chakwal district near Islamabad to inaugurate the water filtration plant of Amrat Jal.

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The filtration plant has been set up at the temple’s holy Amrat Jal pond and it will be a major supply of clean drinking water to the Hindu pilgrims who are visiting the place.

“The renovation should be done to restore the building to its original shape. It should be done within the one and half year of remaining tenure of my government,” he mentioned in his speech.(PTI)

– prepared by Durba Mandal of NewsGram. Twitter: @dubumerang

 

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American Friends of Balochistan welcomes Trump’s Tough stand on Pak

The American Friends of Balochistan (AFB) issued a statement Monday welcoming Donald Trump's stand on US-Pakistan relations, calling it a vindication of its own stand.

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Donald Trump is famous for his rude comments towards brown people. wikimedia commons
Donald Trump is famous for his rude comments towards brown people. wikimedia commons

Washington, D.C.– The American Friends of Balochistan (AFB) Executive Committee issued a statement Monday welcoming the President’s stand on US-Pakistan relations, calling it a vindication of its own stand.

The AFB said President Donald J. Trump has called out Pakistan’s constant bluffs with the US and pointed out a big chunk of American assistance was used against people of Balochistan in a secret, dirty war instead of the Taliban.

Khwaja Wali Kirani in Balochistan. Wikimedia Commons

“The United States has foolishly given Pakistan more than 33 billion dollars in aid over the last 15 years, and they have given us nothing but lies & deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools. They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!,” President Trump first tweet of 2018 reads.

The tweet was loved by nearly quarter-million Americans and retweeted 83,000 times in less than 24 hours.

The AFB executive committee said the US remains Pakistan’s top foreign aid donor, in addition to the money paid in expectation of cooperation in the Global War on Terror. Yet, for many years now, serving officers in the US Armed Forces have repeatedly spoken out about Pakistan’s perfidy in Afghanistan, which has cost the US lives, money and strategic credibility in the world’s eyes. Pakistan also remains a training ground for terrorism and a prime proliferator of nuclear weapons technology.

No country’s development and democracy have suffered more from Pakistan’s interference via state-sponsored terrorism than Afghanistan. US efforts to help the Afghans rebuild their nation are constantly sabotaged by reeling instability. India is another well-known target.

The AFB said Balochistan is a region rich in natural gas. It that has seen several bloody cycles of insurgency ever since Pakistan forcibly annexed the autonomous Baloch state of Kalat in 1948 in violation of a Standstill Agreement. A portion of historical Balochistan also sits on the other side of Pakistan’s border with Iran. Further, it borders Afghanistan to the north-west. Pakistan’s brutal record in this strategically located province that forms the northern lip of the key Straits of Hormuz has spiked in recent years.

“People of Balochistan tried their very best to work with Pakistan’s false promises of integration after forceful accession, but instead gave genocide to Balochs,” said the statement.

The AFB monitors the situation in Balochistan closely and is in touch with freedom and democracy activists on the ground. The AFB reiterated their call to the Pakistani government to cease violating the physical security of Baloch people, their freedom of expression, and end the policy of economic exploitation and genocidal violence.

A slow-motion genocide in Balochistan has claimed the lives of 35,000 Baloch people, 6,000 of whom were buried in mass graves while 21,000 are Victims of Enforced Disappearances, according to the Voice for Baloch Missing Persons. “The enforced disappearances situation in Balochistan is no different than what it used to be in Chile and Argentine in the 1970s and 1980s,” the AFB executive committee noted.

The AFB executive committee chimed in with similar sentiments expressed by policy experts in academe, veteran politicians, diplomats, intelligence chiefs, and human rights activists. Among them were former Afghan President Hamid Karzai, leading South Asia expert and former Pakistani ambassador Hussain Haqqani, several Baloch freedom and human rights activists cutting across party lines, former head of Afghanistan’s Directorate of Security Amrullah Saleh, and even normally fierce critics of President Trump’s administration such as Prof. Christine Fair, Provost’s Distinguished Associate Professor Georgetown University’s Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service.

The AFB executive committee consists of Jane Eastwood Weisner, Najeeb Khan, Krishna Gudipati, Soumya Chowdhury and Habiba Ashna. The organization was founded by veteran Baloch journalist Ahmar Mustikhan, who is the president.

Hope and doubt have been expressed on whether the US president’s tweet and words will translate into actionable legislation. Mustikhan published a survey of some of these thoughts in an article titled “Wave of joy sweeps across Afghanistan, Balochistan & India over Trump’s first tweet of 2018”.