* Presidency to address minorities’ grievances
ISLAMABAD : Minorities Minster Shahbaz Bhatti on Tuesday promised “full protection” for the Ahmedi sect following Friday’s attacks on two of their worship facilities that killed 93 people.
Ahmedis claim the government does not protect them and actively discriminates against them.
Bhatti, himself a Christian, said he would do “whatever is possible to protect Ahmedis in the future”. He announced a two-pronged strategy to ensure protection to minorities and the promotion of interfaith harmony in the country.
Addressing a news conference at the Press Information Department, the minister said a hotline would be set up in the Ministry for Minorities to record their problems.
He said the round-the-clock operating hotline would be connected with all police stations and the President’s House to ensure immediate response to the calls of minorities, seeking any kind of help or protection. Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani will inaugurate the hotline in July, he added.
He said committees would be established in all districts of the country to promote interfaith harmony and national solidarity, to fail the nefarious designs of anti-state elements fanning sectarianism.
The minister said the committees would keep an eye on their respective localities and hold monthly meetings with district coordination officers.
“Reports of every meeting would be sent to the concerned quarters for necessary action,” he added.
Bhatti said the ministry would launch the publication of a monthly magazine containing reports and recommendations of the district committees, adding that special crisis management training would be imparted to members of the committees to improve their efficiency. The minister added that seminars and rallies would be arranged in various parts of the country to exhibit national unity and to create awareness among the masses about anti-state elements carrying out subversive activities to destabilise the country. Condemning the recent attacks on worship places of Ahmedis in Lahore, he said the terrorists were out to destabilise the country after facing defeat in Swat and Malakand.
The minister said the Lahore incident should not be taken only in the context of minorities, as terrorists had no religion, but only an agenda to create anarchy in the country.