CLAAS has welcomed Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s speech delivered at the inauguration of a water filtration plant at Katas Raj temple complex.

He said the day is not far when Pakistan will be recognised as a “minorities-friendly country” and that his government is taking steps to improve the lives of under-represented religious groups.

Mr Sharif said his government promotes the belief that everyone should be entitled to have their own faith, adding that humanity should bind the nation together.

He added that people of all religions should have equal rights in Pakistan, recognising that they had contributed towards creating and defending the country.

The prime minister said he has advised his officials to spare no effort in hosting non-Muslim pilgrims and ensuring the protection and expansion of their places of worship.

Mr Sharif made references to Islamic history to stress that it was part of the Islamic faith to treat minorities equally.

He said the Holy Quran states that God is the God of everyone and not just the Muslims, adding that there should be no distinction on the basis of caste, colour or creed because “we are all one as human beings”.

He reiterated that he was the prime minister of all Pakistanis and “not just Muslim Pakistanis”.

Nasir Saeed Director for CLAAS- has applauded the statement of the prime minister and said that such a statement from a prominent politicians and especially from the prime minister is phenomenal and will definitely help to promote harmony and peace in the country.

He added: “Of course such speeches will help to promote a soft image of the country, but actions are most important. Minorities have been stuffing for a long time, they feel insecure, feel helpless and find no justice. Now they are forced to flee the country because of the government’s obliviousness.

“There is a great need to look into the government’s biased and discriminatory policies and address the issues which concern minorities, to restore their trust in the government and the politicians. Telling them that he is their prime minister too is not enough, but treating them as equal citizens of Pakistan is more important and I hope the prime minister will look into this matter.