ISLAMABAD, Dec 21 (APP):President Dr Arif Alvi Friday said that the idea of Naya Pakistan could not be materialized without uplifting the poor regardless of their faiths as all the world religions advocated human compassion and welfare.
“Pakistan is heading towards a destination where people from all faiths show empathy towards one another in hours of distress. Naya Pakistan cannot be made without uplifting the downtrodden and taking along the people from all faiths,” the president said addressing a ceremony held at Aiwan-e-Sadr in connection with the Christmas and New Year celebrations.
Hosted by Ministry of Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony, the event was attended by First Lady Samina Alvi, Religious Affairs Minister Nur-ul-Haq Qadri, cabinet members, diplomats, parliamentarians, Bishop of Peshawar Humphrey Sarfaraz Peters and huge number of people from Christian and other faiths.
The venue was adorned with the Christmas-themed decorations and symbols including Christmas tree, buntings, lights and Santa Clause.
Started with the recitation of verses from both the Holy Quran and Bible and the national anthem, the event featured the reading of Christmas message, singing of Christmas carols. Clad in colorful dresses, the students of Edwards College Peshawar amused the audience through their melodious voice as they sang the Christmas and New Year songs.
The presence of Santa Clauses distributing sweets among the children and other participants added to the beauty of the event.
The president told the gathering that the Muslims were faith-bound to venerate the Holy Jesus Christ who spread the message of human service, harmony and co-existence.
He also spoke high of the services rendered by Church for humanitarian causes across the world including Pakistan and cited German-born Dr Ruth Pfau, who dedicated her life for treatment of leprosy patients in Pakistan.
Referring to Islamic history, the president said Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) had great respect for Nijashi, a Christian king of Habesha.
He also advised the people to adopt the prophetic characteristics of co-existence. He also cited the August 11, 1947 address of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah who had promised religious and personal freedom to the people.
President Alvi also thanked the Christian community for donation to support the construction of Diamer Bhasha and Mohmand dams.
He viewed that the Christmas was high time everyone pledged to elevate Pakistan by ensuring personal and religious freedom as promised by the religious as well as the country’s constitution.
Earlier, the president also cut the Christmas cake along with the diplomats, bishops and Islamic scholars as well as Pakistan’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Maleeha Lodhi and others and wished Merry Christmas to Christians.
In his address, Minister Nur-ul-Haq Qadri said the ministry was planning to hold an international interfaith conference where the Pope or his representative, Imam-e-Kaaba and chief of Egypt’s Al-Azhar University would be invited.
He advised the leaders from all faiths to visit the worship places of one another to enhance closeness and promote interfaith harmony.
He said Charter of Madinah was the basis of the State of Madinah in which an agreement was signed among Muslims and Jewish and Christian tribes to ensure peaceful co-existence and bind everyone of a specific governing system.
The minister said the ministry was also finalizing the legislation for formulation of interfaith harmony policy. The ministry also regularly hosted celebratory events on Diwali, Besakhi and birth anniversary of Baba Guru Nanak, he added.
Bishop of Peshawar while reading out the Christmas message said Holy Jesus Christ promoted the message of justice, honesty and straightforwardness which could also provide guidance for development of the country.
He said even the teachings of the Jesus Christ could provide panacea for the prevailing issues confronting the humanity in current scenario.