Meritorious services for the promotion of inter-faith harmony of late Shahbaz Bhatti, former Federal Minister for Minorities Affairs, will be long remembered said Mian Manzoor Ahmed Wattoo, President Punjab PPP, in a message on the occasion of the 46th birthday anniversary of the deceased.
He further said that Shahbaz Bhatti assiduous struggle continued for the cause till he was shot dead in Islamabad three years ago by religious fanatic elements to silence his voice. But, his mission of tolerance, brotherhood and peaceful co-existence continued unabatedly, he added.
He referred to his strenuous efforts against the misuse of the discriminatory laws against the minorities mostly driven by the criminal intentions of culprits to deprive them from their property or settle scores of personal infighting.
Mian Manzoor Ahmed Wattoo said that the PPP considered minorities as its constituency and had taken a number of laudable steps during the period of its last PPP democratic government to bring them in mainstream politics of the country as important stakeholders.
He reminded that Shahbaz Bhatti as a Minister worked day and night for the empowerment of the minorities of the country and the PPP government’s response was equally positive and forthcoming.
He recalled that the PPP government reserved five per cent quota for the minorities in the government jobs and ensured its implementation in letter and spirit.
Mian Manzoor Ahmed Wattoo added that the PPP also approved four seats for the minorities in the Senate, first time in the history of the Upper House.
The democratic government of the PPP also declared August 11 every year as the Minorities Day. The Day has the significance because the Founder of the Nation ensured the minorities of Pakistan on the Day in 1946 that they would be equal citizens of Pakistan.
It was also decided that the two religious festivals of each religious community would be observed officially. In Jails places for worship for the minorities were also reserved.
Mian Manzoor Ahmed Wattoo said that the PPP government decided to bring legislation to grant representation to the minorities’ on the basis of their population in the country. A lot of work in this regard was undertaken but with the change of government the legislative process could not be completed.