Karachi (Agenzia Fides) - "The founder of Pakistan Mohammad Ali Jinnah in his historic speech of August 11, 1947 assured us that people of faith other than Islam would be citizens of Pakistan, with equal rights and duties. Consequently, we should be treated as equal citizens of Pakistan for all the 365 days of the year, without the need to have a Day for Religious Minorities in Pakistan": this is what Cardinal Joseph Coutts, Archbishop of Karachi told Agenzia Fides. Cardinal Coutts, renowned for his commitment to promoting peace and harmony in Pakistan, on the occasion of Minorities Day, celebrated on August 11 throughout the country, told Fides: "We people are Pakistanis, we are not migrants from any other country, we were born and raised in Pakistan and have lived here for centuries before Pakistan's independence. We should not be treated as second-class citizens".
Cardinal Coutts continues: "We have contributed to the development of the Country since the first day of its independence. And we still do it today: the Pakistani Catholic Bishops' Conference has responded to Prime Minister Imran Khan's appeal for the construction of water basins and dams in Pakistan and we have collected donations from all our Pakistani Christians".
To this end "we should be treated as citizens equal to others and not as religious minorities in Pakistan". Cardinal Coutts also said: "I appreciate Prime Minister Imran Khan for strongly opposing forced conversions in his speech of July 30, 2019 while celebrating Minorities Day" (see Fides, 1/8/2019). And he concluded: "It seems that this government is aware of the challenges of the people of religious minorities in Pakistan. It is a positive sign, we ask to guarantee the protection of religious minorities and the places of worship of religious minorities". (AG) (Agenzia Fides, 12/8/2019)