LAHORE - Pakistan is a minority’s friendly country, Provincial Minister for Human Rights and Minorities Affairs Khalil Tahir Sandhu said Thursday, adding that members of opposition and government benches in Punjab Assembly are united for effective legislation for protection of human rights.

The minister was addressing a meeting of Human Friends Parliamentarians Caucus (HFPC) arranged by Human Friends Organization.

Netherlands’ Ambassador in Pakistan Jeannettee Seppen, Ambassador for Human Rights Kees Van Baar, Political Secretary Martin Beerthuizen, HFP convener Shehzad Munshi MPA, HFO Chairman Sajid Christopher, parliamentarians Kanji Ram, Azma Bukhari, Rahila Khadim Hussain, Ahsan Riaz Fatiyana, Bushra Anjum Butt, Sadia Sohail Rana, Hina Pervaiz Butt, Tahnia Noon, and pastors Anwar Fazal and Imran Fazal were present besides representatives of civil society and minorities along with media.

The HFPC convener, Shehzad Munshi, briefed the participants regarding the purpose to make this Caucus for Human Rights protection as Parliament members can play a pivotal role for policy making and meet the challenges in this regard.

According to a handout, Ambassador of Netherlands in Pakistan Jeannettee Seppen and Ambassador of Human Rights Kees Van Baar expressed their satisfaction on the initiatives being taken by Punjab government for the protection of human rights and minorities. They said that awareness regarding human rights issue is stronger in Punjab when compared to other provinces of Pakistan.

They also stressed upon the need of strict implementation of these laws so that all the stakeholders might be benefited.

Kees Van Baar said that “to achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Human Rights protection sector, strong political will is mandatory and people from all walks of life including government institutions, civil society, and academia should join hands to promote interfaith harmony, tolerance and peace in the country”.