ISLAMABAD (our reporter):- The UK-based All Party Parliamentary Groups (APPGs) on Freedom of Religion or Belief called on Speaker of National Assembly Raja Pervez Ashraf at Parliament House, today. Issues related to religious intolerance, interfaith harmony and human rights violations particularly in Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) came under discussion.
Speaker National Assembly Raja Pervez Ashraf said Pakistan always adopted a constructive approach toward the rights of all citizens including minorities. He said that the Constitution of Pakistan guarantees equal rights for all. He said Pakistan is deeply concerned about the surge in religious intolerance particularly incidents of desecration of Holy Quran were very unfortunate and highly condemnable. Also, human rights violations in IIOJK are extremely disappointing and needs immediate global attention.
Speaker Raja Pervez Ashraf said that minorities have been playing a productive role in the national development of the country. He apprised the audience that National Assembly and Provincial Assemblies have reserved seats for minorities. He further said that Pakistan has a Ministry for Religious Affairs and Inter-faith Harmony which works proactively to ensure that the interests and rights of every citizen including minorities are protected as per the Constitution.
The APPGs delegation thanked the Speaker National Assembly for the warm reception and appreciated Pakistan’s efforts toward promoting global peace and harmony. They supported Pakistan’s stance on the Kashmir issue & assured that APPG will continue to make efforts in this regard. They assured that as representative of the Muslim community in the U.K., APPG will play its role to promote religious tolerance and build a soft image of Muslims around the world.