Islamabad - A colourful evening of Diwali - a Hindu festival of lights - was celebrated with zest and zeal by Hindu community here at Pakistan National Council of the Arts (PNCA) on Tuesday.

The event was organised by ministry of religious affairs and interfaith harmony to perform religious rituals by Hindu minority living in Pakistan to ensure equal rights for minorities and express national harmony.

Wearing colourful clothes with facial make-up and jewellery, the girls, children and women of Hindu community, besides others, joined the Diwali festival with religious fervour.

Minister of Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony, Sardar Muhammad Yusuf, said on the occasion that Diwali is festival of love, peace, enlightenment, happiness and harmony. The basic philosophy in celebrating Diwali is the triumph of good over evil. He said that Diwali is not just a festival; rather, the act of lighting candles means that good has won over evil.

He further said that the basic teachings of all religion rest upon peace and love for human beings. He said that Islam also teaches brotherhood, fraternity and equality. He further said that the present wave of terrorism, sectarianism and fanaticism in Pakistan against minorities is contrary to spirit of Islam. He also vehemently condemned the brutal incident of Kot Radha Kishan where a Christian couple was burnt alive and said that the government would leave no stone unturned to protect its minorities. Speaking on the occasion, Dr Ramesh Kumar who is member of national assembly of Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) said that Pakistan is ethnically, linguistically, culturally and religiously a diverse society so people from every walk of life should have equal opportunities and rights in all sphere of national life. Unfortunately in Pakistan the religious minorities are bearing the brunt of extremism and terrorism which is lethal for national integrity, he said. He added that vibrant and dynamic nations promote interfaith harmony and freedom of faith.

A large number of people participated at the gathering from all communities and religions. Pandat Chana Laal inaugurated the festival by reciting Bhajan and hymn. The artists from Pakistan National Council of Arts performed candle dance and tableau. At the end all participants prayed for the peace, prosperity and harmony in the country.