Sunday November 18, 2018

Hindu, Christian leaders appreciate Pakistan’s decision on holidays for minorities festival

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Photo: topyaps.com

Hindu and Christian religious leaders today welcomed the decision of the National Assembly of Pakistan for adopting a resolution, declaring holidays on festivals celebrated by minorities–Holi, Diwali and Easter.

Elated over declaration of holidays, Vishwa Hindu Parishad, an offshoot of RSS, welcomed the decision and dubbed it as one positive step towards ‘recognition of world’s oldest religion.”’ Holi, a festival of colors, has given a befitting opportunity to rise above prejudices and we welcome the announcement in the same spirit. It’s good that they (Pakistanis) are returning to their roots,” said Surendra Jain, VHP General Secretary.

Earlier, President of Universal Society of Hinduism, US Rajan Zed had hailed the decision of the National Assembly of Pakistan and thanked legislators for adopting the resolution.

”For the first time, the Sindh Government has declared a public holiday for Holi throughout the Sindh Province for all offices, autonomous, semi-autonomous bodies, corporations and local councils under the administrative control of Sindh Government except essential services, which is a commendable move, ‘said Mr Zed, in a statement.

”Despite theological differences, religions teach us qualities including love, sharing, respect, fairness, morality, ethics, and forgiveness, among others and dialogue helps us overcome prejudices, brings us closer and results in mutual enrichment, ‘he added.

Father John Dayal, spokesperson, United Christian Forum, too welcomed the decision. However, he said the substantive issue was to restore confidence of minorities especially Christians, Hindus by abolishing ‘world’s infamous blasphemy laws.”’ You see the bigger issue is that minorities are being victimized in many ways in Pakistan. So many people, particularly, Christians are on death row for allegedly violating blasphemy issues. Their government should also address bigger issues,” he said.

This article was first published at news.webindia123.com

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Vow To Hold Peace Talks With India: Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan

Since taking power in August Khan has also sought loans from allies such as China and Saudi Arabia, promised to recover funds stolen by corrupt officials

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Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan prepares to speak at the opening of the Future Investment Initiative conference, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. VOA

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan Tuesday vowed to hold peace talks with arch-rival India following elections in the neighbouring country, after a similar offer from the former cricketer was “rebuffed.”

Khan made the announcement during a speech at a Saudi Arabian investment conference where the newly minted leader launched a charm offensive targeting potential investors as Pakistan seeks to secure funds amid a yawning balance of payment crisis.

“When I won the elections and came to power the first thing I tried to do was extend a hand of peace to India,” Khan told the crowd at the Future Investment Initiative (FII) in Riyadh, saying the overture was later “rebuffed” by Delhi.

“Now what we are hoping is that we wait until the elections then again we will resume our peace talks with India,” he added, referring to upcoming nationwide polls scheduled to take place by mid-May.

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Imran Khan, wikimedia commons

In September India pulled the plug on a rare meeting between its foreign minister and her Pakistani counterpart on the sidelines of a UN summit — a move that was termed “arrogant” by Khan and unleashed a barrage of insults from both sides.

India has long accused Pakistan of backing militants in Kashmir, a Himalayan territory divided between the two countries but claimed in full by both since independence in 1947.

Delhi has stationed about 500,000 soldiers in the portion of Kashmir it controls, where separatist groups demand independence or a merger with Pakistan.

Khan’s call for peace talks comes as his administration is desperately seeking funds from “friendly” countries, including Saudi Arabia, to shore up Pakistan’s deteriorating finances.

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Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, surrounded by host country representatives and other participants, attends an investment conference in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. VOA

The prime minister’s attendance at the FII comes as leading policy-makers and corporate chiefs shunned the conference in response to the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

During his address at the FII Khan confirmed that Pakistan was also in talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) over a new bailout.

Also Read: Pakistan Fears Economic Turmoil, Re-thinks ‘Silk Road’ Project With China

Since taking power in August Khan has also sought loans from allies such as China and Saudi Arabia, promised to recover funds stolen by corrupt officials, and embarked on a series of high-profile populist austerity measures.

But help has been in short supply and economists’ warnings have grown increasingly urgent. (VOA)