The National Commission for Justice and Peace, the human rights body of the Catholic Church in Pakistan, has offered its good wishes to the minority Baha’i community as they celebrate the 200th birth anniversary of their founder. The special initiative to mark the birth anniversary of Baha’u’llah was taken by Archbishop Joseph Coutts of Karachi “to strengthen our relationship with people from other religions,” said Kashif Javed Anthony, coordinator of the commission. Farhad Mashriqui, a representative of the Baha’i community
, thanked the Catholic Church for taking this initiative to promote interfaith harmony. “It’s an honor for us that the Catholic Church has invited people of various religions to share their love and being part of our joy, when we are celebrating the bicentennial birthday year of Hazrat Baha’u’llah, our prophet,” he said. Born on Nov. 12, 1817 in present-day Iran, Baha’u’llah founded the Baha’i faith in 1863. Baha’i teachings focus on unity of God, all religions and mankind and it has between 5 and 7 million followers across the world. In Pakistan, there is no official data available about the exact number of Baha’is living in the country.