Lahore: Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif has said that Christian community has played a commendable role in the creation of Pakistan, progress and prosperity of the country. He said that services of Christian community in education, health and other sectors are appreciable and they earned a name with regard to service to ailing humanity and promotion of education. He said that the role of Christians in the defense of the country and provision of justice is also laudable.
He expressed these views while addressing a function held in the honor of Christian community in connection with Christmas at Model Town, here today. Federal Minister for Port and Shipping Kamran Michael, Provincial Minister for Minority Affairs Khalil Tahir Sandhu and leaders of Christian community also spoke on the occasion and appreciated the measures of Punjab government for the protection of minority rights.
Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif appreciated the commendable services of Christian community for progress and prosperity of the country especially in education, health and defense sectors during Christmas function at Model Town.
Mentioning his studentship period, Shahbaz Sharif said that he has also studied in a Missionary school of Lahore and still remembers the love and anger of his teachers especially stick of Madam Paul.
The Chief Minister said he is proud that he has achieved this status due to the hard work of these teachers and prayers of the parents. He said that December 25 is birthday of Christ as well as founder of Pakistan Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah and Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif.
Shahbaz Sharif also sang a special song of Christmas along with children of Christian community. Prayers were also offered for the solidarity, stability, progress and prosperity of the country during the function.
The Chief Minister has announced three months remission in the imprisonment of prisoners belonging to Christian community of the province on the occasion of Christmas which will not be applicable to the Christian prisoners involved in heinous crimes. The remission in imprisonment will be given to Christian prisoners as is permitted by the law.
The Chief Minister said that Christmas festival is a day of joys and he congratulates Christian community on Christmas. He said that observing event of Christmas results in the promotion of love, harmony and mutual relations between Muslims and Christians. He said that birthday of the Christ is also sacred and respectable for Muslims along with Christian community.
Shahbaz Sharif said that details of the incidents of the era of Christ have also been mentioned in the Holy Quran. He said that Christian, Hindu, Parsi and Sikh communities have played a prominent role in the promotion of peace and Pakistani minorities enjoy equal rights. He said that founder of Pakistan Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah has also emphasized upon equal rights of the minorities and we have to promote this vision of Quaid in Pakistan.
He said that principles of Quaid will have to be implemented for constitution of a society based on peace and accommodation. He said that under the constitution of Pakistan, all minorities have full right to live and work here.
The Chief Minister said that under the leadership of Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, the government has ensured protection of minority rights. He said that elimination of extremist approach is necessary to make the country a haven of peace. He said that on the occasion of Christmas, the procedure of encashment of cheques of Eidi given to Christian community will be simplified.
Shahbaz Sharif said that efforts will be made for encashment of cheques before Christmas and he is issuing directions in this regard.
The Chief Minister announced constitution of a committee regarding incident of Yuhanabad and said that all out relief will be given in the incident of Yuhanabad under the law. He said that report regarding Saint Frances School will be sought and reviewed in the light of demand of Christian community.
He also cut a cake of Christmas. Federal Minister for Port & Shipping Kamran Michael, Provincial Minister for Minority Affairs Khalil Tahir Sandhu, Bishop, fathers, sisters and prominent personalities belonging to Christian community were also present on the occasion.