Islamabad: President Asif Ali Zardari greeted Pakistan's Hindu community on the occasion of Diwali and pledged his government's commitment to safeguard the constitutionally guaranteed rights of all minorities.
"I wish to extend on my behalf, on behalf of the Pakistan People's Party and on behalf of the people of Pakistan heartiest greetings to the Hindu and scheduled castes community on the occasion of Diwali," Zardari said in a message.
"The Hindus and the Scheduled Castes, indeed, all minorities of Pakistan are equal citizens of the state and entitled to equal rights," he said.
Zardari reiterated the pledge made by the government and the PPP to safeguard the rights of all minority communities in accordance with the teachings of Pakistan's founder Mohammad Ali Jinnah and the founder of the PPP Zulfikar Ali Bhutto.
The PPP has been fighting religious apartheid foisted on the people by extremists and will continue to fight it with "unabated vigour and intensity," he said.
"I wish to make it clear that no one will be allowed to victimise and hound members of minority communities in the name of religion and faith," he added.
"We partake in Diwali celebrations also for promoting interfaith harmony as a means to fight religious apartheid on the one hand and the militants and extremists who seek to impose their ideological agenda on the people by force on the other," Zardari said in his message.
The President called on the government to step up plans for setting up a federal interfaith complex in Islamabad and interfaith harmony committees in all districts with representation from members of all minorities besides Muslims.
First Published: Friday, November 05, 2010, 09:54