By Angelina Bashir
ISLAMABAD: Speaker National Assembly Raja Pervaiz Ashraf Thursday said that August 11 was the historic day when the founder of Pakistan Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah was elected as President of 1st Constituent Assembly.
He expressed these views in his welcome address to the Minority Convention held at the National Assembly Hall in connection with the Diamond Jubilee celebrations of 1st Constituent Assembly in Islamabad.
He said the founder of Pakistan in his inaugural address to the 1st Constituent Assembly presented the constitutional outline for newly independent state of Pakistan where every citizen of the state was declared an equal citizen without distinction of color, race, religion, caste and language.
The Speaker welcomed the participants of the convention, saying that the convention wasa unique convention of its kind in which Parliamentarians as well as community leaders, representatives of all minority communities are participating. He said that it was an honour for him to welcome them as they are part of the nation.
While appreciating the confidence of a child from Minority community who addressed the convention, he said the address of the child reflects the picture of democratic and egalitarian Pakistan which was guaranteed by 1973 Constitution of the country.
The Speaker said that this day was declared as the National Minority Day on the basis of speech of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah on August 11, 1947.
He said that keeping in view of the same spirit National Convention on Minority was held in National Assembly Hall to mark that day. He said that white stripe in the flag of Pakistan indicates our minorities who are playing vital role in the development and progress of the country.
He said that the Constitution of Pakistan in its Preamble reiterates a Pakistan “In which provision will be made for Minorities to freely profess and practice their religions and develop their cultures.” He said that country’s Constitution guarantees sanctity, security and development of every member of community including minorities. He said that this diamond jubilee would set the future goals for people of Pakistan for coming 75 years.
The convention was attended by Federal Ministers, Parliamentarians, Members of Provincial Assemblies, and leaders, representatives & notables of all religious minorities.
At the very outset, the Speaker invited Abda Abid, a Christian boy to present quotes from the speech of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah delivered on August 11, 1947. As per vision of Quaid-e-Azam minorities were enjoying equal rights and liberty to practice their religion in free manner.
Arish Kumar, a former Member of National Assembly, speaking in the convention in National Assembly raised the issue of forced conversion, demanded equal opportunities for education. He also appreciated the construction of Kartarpur Corridor in Narowal. Ms Kalara Pasha said Pakistan was the mother of all Pakistanis. Despite having a Muslim husband, she has the right to practice her Christianity.
Kheal Das Kohistani, MNA said there was no discrimination between minorities and majorities in the country. Minorities were playing important role in progress of the country. Parliament was there to resolve issues of minorities. He said National Assembly would protect the rights of minorities at all costs.
Dr Ramesh Kumar Vankwani thanked the speaker for celebrating minority convention in National Assembly Hall. Pakistan People’s Party always played important role in protecting the rights of minorities. Minorities should be provided right to elect their own representatives. He recited Na’at.
Former MNA Asiya Nasir proposed that maximum time should be given to the guests.
MNA Dr. Ramesh Lal said that credit of today event goes to Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), adding that there is no issue of reserve or general seats but loyalty and support with one party matter. He said that there is no country like Pakistan in the whole world.
MNA Naveed Aamir Jeeva said that non-Muslim Pakistan have played great role in all fields of life including health and education.
MNA Dr. Darshan Lal said that only democracy would bring progress and prosperity.
Malik Zahid Iqbal, Sharoon Masih, Imran Uthwal, Ramesh Singh Arora, Dr Lal Chand and Paster Nasir Khan also spoke on the occasion.