Archbishop assures support to flood victims

Federal Minister for Minorities Affairs Shahbaz Bhatti called on the Archbishop of Canterbury Dr.Rowan Williams at Lambeth Palace, on Friday.

Minister apprised the Archbishop of the flood situation in Pakistan and the interfaith dialogue initiative of government of Pakistan, says a press release received from London.

The Archbishop of Canterbury assured support for flood victims of Pakistan particularly in the context of health and education while describing his meeting with Minister very fruitful.

Bhatti conveyed messages of goodwill from President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani to the Archbishop and extended him invitation to visit Pakistan.

The Archbishop recalled his past visit of Pakistan saying that he cherished the visit where he had opportunity to meet with Christian religious leaders.

The Minister briefed the archbishop in detail about the devastation caused by the floods and the efforts being made by the government of Pakistan to deal with the crises.

He stressed need for international solidarity to deal with this mega challenge. He expressed deep appreciation for the support extended by the Archbishop and other Christian organizations in helping people of Pakistan in this hour of need.

They discussed interfaith harmony and dialogue in Pakistan as well as at global level. Dwelling upon Interfaith Initiative of Government of Pakistan, the Minister informed that at district level interfaith committees were being set up comprising Muslim and non-Muslim members to create interfaith harmony at the grass roots level.

He further informed that in addition to that training programmes for creating awareness and material based on common teachings of various religions were also being developed to harness religious tolerance.

Besides this exchange programmes for promoting interfaith harmony will also be undertaken by the Ministry of Minorities Affairs. The Archbishop of Canterbury assured full support to strengthening this program.

The Minister added that the laws with potential of being misused against minorities were being reviewed to check human rights abuse of any kind, as the present government believes in protection of rights of all the segments of society. Discussing

the interfaith dialogue in global perspective the Minister appreciated the Interfaith Dialogue Initiative of the Archbishop of Canterbury, specially programme of presence, engagement and dialogue of Anglican Church with Jamiatul Al- Azhar, emphasising that interfaith harmony was an instrument to bring peace, harmony and tolerance.