Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said his government stands committed to ensure equal rights for all minorities as enshrined in the Constitution of Pakistan and UN Declaration of Human Rights. "Aug. 11 has a special significance in our national calendar. It was on this day in 1947 when the father of the nation, Quaid-e-Azam
(great leader) Muhammad Ali Jinnah, in his historic speech to the members of the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan, had laid down the foundations of a modern, tolerant and progressive Pakistan," said Sharif's statement, which marked the country's National Minority Day. Jinnah had said: "'You are free; you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or to any other places of worship in this state of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed — that has nothing to do with the business of the state,'" said prime minister's statement quoting the country's founder. "The present democratic government is driven by the vision of the Quaid-e-Azam
for protecting the rights of minorities. The recognition and respect for the rights of minorities is part of our manifesto."
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