KARACHI (APP) - Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah has said that minorities are an important part of Pakistan and the Constitution provides equal and full rights to them. Sindh Government is determined to protect the rights of all groups of minorities, he said at a meeting of Sindh Minorities Department at Chief Minister House here Friday. He pointed out that a separate full fledged Sindh Minorities Department has been established to pay full attention to and for early solution of problems of minorities. Chief Minister said it is now the Departments responsibility to work hard and prepare feasible schemes for repair and maintenance of worship places of minorities, providing financial assistance to their needy and poor people, awarding scholarships to poor and deserving intelligent students and other welfare schemes for the minority community. He said Rs 50 million have been made availavle for this purpose which must be utilised before the end of financial year. For this purpose proper schemes be prepared in consultation with elected representatives and notables (Mukhee) of the community. He assured that sufficient allocation will be made in the next financial year, for which schemes, projects and proposals be sent at the earliest for inclusion in ADP 2009-10. Qaim Ali Shah declared that places of worship of minorities will be fully protected while illegal occupations and encroachments, if any, will be got removed. He informed that sufficient funds for Sindh province are lying with Evacuee Trust Properties Board and, as such, proper liaison be made with the Board. Sindh Minister for Minorities Dr. Mohal Lal and Secretary of the Department Qabool Muhammad Shaikh informed the meeting that some 4 million people belonging to minorities are residing in Sindh, majority of them being Hindus, Christians and Parsi. They are not only happy on the creation of a separate department, but also expecting early redressal of grievances. According to break-up, they informed, 50% amount will be spent on maintenance and repair of temples etc, 25% distributed as financial assistance to the poor and needy people, 12.5% for scholarships while 12.5% will be spent on other programmes. They said that minority communities need a sense of protection of their lives and properties, induction at policy level posts. Regarding problems of minority communities, it was informed that due to non-availability of community centres, lacking access to policy level institutions to register their grievances and exploitation of low caste minority people by feudal and landlords, the minority community needs to be supported. The meeting was informed that Sindh Government has allocated Rs 100 million in the annual budget for various schemes. Of the amount, Rs 50 million has been released for schemes of repair and maintenance of worship places of minority as well as their graveyards and Dharmshalas, construction of community centres in districts besides ensuring quota for employment in government departments. The meeting was attended, among others, by Chief Secretary Fazalur Rehman, Additional Chief Secretary (P&D) Nazar Hussain Mahar, Secretary Finance Fazaluallah Pechuho, Secretary Zakat, Ushar Malik Israr and Director Minorities Gul Hassan Channa.