ISLAMABAD - Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf has underlined the need for interfaith dialogue for promotion of peace and harmony in the society.

Addressing a function in connection with the Christmas celebrations at F-8 Fatima church here Saturday, Raja Pervez Ashraf said, “Some misguided elements have tried to sow seeds of suspicion and target religions and their teachings. We can’t sit back and allow a few extremists to attack our shared values.”

He said the way the entire civilised world came together and denounced blasphemous caricatures of the Holy Prophet Muhammad [Peace Be Upon Him] indicates that the followers of all great religions would not allow misguided elements to dictate their narrative. We need to stand together and promote shared values of compassion, moderation and tolerance and love.

Raja Parvez Ashraf said all minorities are part of Pakistani social fabric and we value the contributions and services of minority community in general and Christian community in particular in the development of the country.

He said the present government is committed to the vision of founder of Pakistan Quaid-e-Azam, Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Shaheed Benazir Bhutto for an enlightened, moderate, progressive and tolerate Pakistan. The constitution of Pakistan gives every individual the right to freely practice their religion and share economic opportunities for their empowerment. In this direction, the government has taken landmark decisions. These include approval of enhancement of seats in the national and provincial assemblies by the Federal Cabinet, reservations of five percent quota in federal government jobs,  reservation of seats in senate, and declaration of 11 august as national minority day.

 He said the government stands for equal rights for all citizens. He said special efforts are being to bring the weaker sections of the society into the mainstream.

Ministry of harmony has been mandated to actively engage in dialogue with scholars and leaders of all faith to remove misunderstandings. He said our government has proposed inter faith dialogue as a long term measures for achieving sustainable peace and harmony. He said the people of all religions should stand together to fight the menace of extremism and terrorism.

On the occasion, the prime minister also cut Christimas cake.  Addressing the Christmas function Minister of State for Interfaith Harmony Akram Masih Gill said that we are all equal citizens of Pakistan and would have to work for the down trodden people and bring happiness in their lives. He said we will continue our socio-economic work for Pakistan.

Advisor to Prime Minister on interfaith harmony Paul Bhatti said we have to remove the sense of hate from our society and inculcate it with love.