'Govt keen to promote religious tourism'

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Staff Report
ISLAMABAD: President Dr Arif Alvi Wednesday said Pakistan was a cradle of many civilizations and the government was committed to promote tourism, especially, religious tourism, in which Buddhism had niche due to presence of a lot of Buddhist historic sites in Pakistan.
He was talking to a delegation of the Most Venerable Wonhaeng, President of Jogye Order, the biggest denomination of Buddhism in the Republic of Korea, which called on him here at the Aiwan-e-Sadr. The visit of Buddhist delegation from South Korea would convey common message of peace, harmony and understanding among all religions, he added.
The president hoped that the visit would promote people to people contacts by highlighting the historic culture and religious linkages between our two countries. Pakistan and Republic of Korea cultural and religious linkages went back to the Buddhist Gandhara civilization, to as early as the 4th century AD, he said.
He highlighted that Pakistan was proud of its Buddhist artifacts and heritage which had been carefully preserved as the shared heritage of mankind. The two countries needed further collaboration in conservation and promotion of historical Buddhist Sites, he said.
On the other side, Prime Minister Imran Khan has expressed the resolve to promote inter-faith harmony and respect for all religions to make Pakistan a revered destination for the followers of Buddhism, Sikhism and Hinduism.
Talking to a South Korea’s Buddhist delegation led by Jogye Order Wonhaeng, who called on the premier in Islamabad, PM Imran said “Pakistan is proud of its Buddhist heritage and his government is focused on promoting tourism, especially, religious tourism.” He said both Pakistan and Korea must enhance collaboration in conservation and promotion of historical Buddhist sites, Radio Pakistan reported. PM Imran said visit of Buddhist delegation from South Korea would convey the common message of peace, harmony and understanding among all religions. He said Pakistan has recently opened Kartarpur Sahib Corridor for Sikh pilgrims on the occasion of 550th birth anniversary of Baba Guru Nanak. Won Haeng appreciated the efforts of Pakistan for preservation of Buddhist heritage. He thanked the Prime Minister for promoting world peace and interfaith harmony.
Earlier on November 7, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan had assured that the government was committed to make Naya Pakistan a country on the principles of Riyasat-i-Madina.
Addressing the All Pakistan Naat Competition at National Broadcasting House in Islamabad, she had said the personality and life of our prophet Muhammad (PBUH) is a guideline for us.
Agencies add: Terming children as architects of the nation, President Dr Arif Alvi has called the need for joint efforts to ensure a safe and secure Pakistan for children.
“This requires a collective national approach. It is imperative that they are nurtured and protected to safeguard our future,” he said in a message on the Universal Children Day, which is celebrated each year on Nov 20. President Alvi said the government was taking measures for creating a nation where equal opportunities existed for all, including women and children.  “A welfare state is being created where healthcare, education and security of life and property will be ensured and rights of all including children will be protected,” he said.
He said that Pakistan, as a signatory to the United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of the Child, had always been at the forefront of regional and international efforts to protect the rights of children.