Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has urged the followers of all religions to join hands to thwart the designs of elements who want to spread religious hatred in the country.
Addressing a function in connection with Christmas day here on Saturday‚ he said some misled elements exploit the name of religion to achieve their vested interests but we collectively have to foil their designs for peace and security.
He said those attacking churches‚ mosques and temples have nothing to do with any religion.
He said all the religions of the world preach love‚ affection and brotherhood and there is a need to promote these ideals for love and harmony in the society.
He said it is part of Muslim faith to believe in the prophet-hood of Jesus and all the divine books. He said the character and teachings of Jesus are beacon of light for the whole humanity. The message of Jesus is universally acknowledged and his name will remain alive till the Day of Judgment.
About the rights of minorities‚ Nawaz Sharif said the minorities are part and parcel of Pakistani society and they enjoy equal rights as enshrined in the constitution. It is priority of the government to provide equal opportunities to all the segments of the society regardless of their religion and sect. He said recently the government has launched one hundred billion rupees loan scheme for the youth and the Christian youth can apply in the scheme.
He said the Punjab government has also allocated two hundred million rupees for the development of minorities' settlements. Besides it has also allocated amount for scholarships for minority students.
Appreciating the services of minorities‚ the Prime Minister said they have remained at the forefront for the defense and development of the country.