Islamabad: Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani has said that the minorities and women are his constituency and his government is taking all possible steps for their empowerment and welfare.
The Prime Minister expressed these views while talking a high-powered Norwegian delegation, which called on him at the Prime Minister’s House today. The delegation led by Mr. Kjell Magne Bondevik, former Prime Minister of Norway, included Ms Tara Tautri, Executive Secretary of World Council of Churches Switzerland, Bishop Munawar Rumalshah, Mr. Raheel Sharoon, Mr. Joseph Francis, National Director Centre for Legal Aid and Settlement (CLAAS), and Mr. Terge Barstad, chargé d’affaires, Embassy of Norway. The Pakistani side consisted of Dr Paul Bhatti, Advisor to Prime Minister, and Ministry of Interfaith Harmony and Minorities Affairs, Mr. Akram Masih Gill, Minister for State, Ministry of Interfaith Harmony and Minorities Affairs. The officials of the Prime Minister’s Secretariat and relevant Ministry were also present on the occasion.
The Prime Minister said that the government had set up Ministry of Interfaith Harmony and Minorities Affairs to promote dialogue and harmony among different religions and resolve the problems facing the minorities in an institutional manner. He said that the Pakistani society was a beautiful blend of diverse cultures and civilizations.
The Prime Minister said that the Constitution guaranteed their political, economic, religious and social freedoms. He said that minorities were playing their due role in the national development. 5% quota in all jobs was reserved for the minorities and its implementation was being strictly ensured to encourage them to take part in national life, the Prime Minister stated. He said that the minorities enjoyed representation in Parliament, adding that two seats in the Upper House had been reserved for the minorities from the Muslims’ quota.
The Prime Minister also thanked the people and the government of Norway for extending humanitarian assistance during earthquake and floods in Pakistan. He also wished happy Christmas to the members of delegation.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Kjell Magne Bondevik, head of the delegation, said that he, as Prime Minister of Norway, participated in a number of Christmas functions organized by the Pakistani expatriates in Norway. He also appreciated the government of Pakistan for various initiative aimed at empowerment of the minorities.
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