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Pakistan

Punjab launches Pakistan's first policy on interfaith harmony

The policy highlights the impact of growing intolerance on minorities, women and youth

Punjab launches Pakistan's first policy on interfaith harmony

Shahid Rehmat (left), executive director of the Youth Development Foundation, with Minister Ejaz Alam Augustine at the launch of the first policy on interfaith harmony on Jan. 27 in Lahore. (Photo supplied)

Amid rising blasphemy cases and forced conversions, Punjab has become the first province in Pakistan to launch a draft policy on interfaith harmony.

“This plan is the first of its kind due to it being formulated by people belonging to diverse religions and sects, thus making it inclusive of minorities and the majority population,” said Punjab Minister for Human Rights, Minorities Affairs and Interfaith Harmony Ejaz Alam Augustine.

“All the previous policies were written by individuals or a selected group of people from the government and civil society. The public seem to be slightly removed from the policymaking process. We are very keen to adopt the consensus.”

The document included input from more than 20 consultations held with different stakeholders including religious leaders, media and youth representatives. Catholic and Protestant bishops, religious scholars and minority leaders.

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