By Abdullah Zahid.
ISLAMABAD: As Friday marks the Christian community’s biggest global festival, President Arif Alvi, prime minister Imran Khan and other government officials extended their felicitations and warmest wishes to members of the community.
“All citizens of the country enjoy the freedom of religion and worship under the constitution,” said President Alvi
Meanwhile, PM Imran in his message said the government is dedicated to preserve the sanctity of existence and equality of opportunities enjoyed by all Pakistanis including minorities.
“Minorities are actively contributing to the development and prosperity of the country without any hindrance,” said PM Imran
“Wishing all our Christian citizens a very Happy Christmas,” the Prime Minister felicitated today the community, based in Pakistan.
In his tweet today, he also advised the community to “Please stay safe by observing COVID 19 SOPs”.
As a second wave of the pandemic is sweeping through Pakistan, earlier this week the National Command and Operation Center (NCOC) issued coronavirus guidelines for Christmas events to prevent the spread of COVID-19. On Thursday, with 111 deaths, the country reported the second highest number of virus-related fatalities since the beginning of the outbreak in March.
Meanwhile, Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has extended Christmas greetings to the Christian community in Pakistan and the world over, on the eve of the auspicious festival.
In his felicitation message, the PPP chairman eulogised the role of Christians and other minority communities in the development of the country and assured them that their rights as equal citizens of Pakistan as enshrined in the Constitution, will always be protected.
Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said that his party was the true follower and inheritor of the ideology of Pakistan as envisaged by the Founder of the Nation Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah. “PPP has always taken steps for political, social, and economic rights of the minorities and Prime Minister Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto established a full-fledged Minority Affairs Department and, following her vision, gave representation to the non-Muslim population in the Senate of Pakistan for the first time,” he added.
He appealed to the Christian community to hold special prayers for strengthening democracy, peace, and prosperity in Pakistan, for the establishment of an egalitarian society.
PML-N vice president Maryam Nawaz also wished Pakistani Christians on the eve.
“A very happy Christmas to our Christian brethren,” Maryam said on Twitter.
Planning Minister Asad Umar who last week tested positive for the coronavirus also asked those celebrating to be “responsible” in how they celebrate.
“Take the right precautions for yourself and your loved ones,” he tweeted.
Chief Minister Punjab Usman Buzdar said: “May this day brings happiness and joy to all those celebrating”.
“keep your close ones safe in these tough times,” Buzdar tweeted.
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Education Minister Shafqat Mahmood and SAPM Syed Zulfiqar Bukhari also wished all those celebrating a merry Christmas.
“#MerryChristmas and #SeasonsGreetings to all friends celebrating the joyful day,” wrote PPP senator Sehar Kamran.
“Wish everyone love, joy, and peace … today, tomorrow, and always.”
Special ceremonies and prayers have been in churches across the country since Christmas Eve on Thursday evening, Radio Pakistan reported.