By Asim Shahzad
Punjab Human Rights and Minorities Affairs Department organised a one-day national dialogue on promoting the culture of dialogue in Pakistan. The dialogue took stock of the minority empowerment package and implementation of a 2 percent quota for minority students in higher education institutions of Punjab.
Punjab Minister for Human Rights & Minorities Affairs Department Ejaz Alam Augustine said that Punjab would soon announce 19,800 jobs for the religious minorities in a single go because these jobs remained unfilled and are carried forward from the past.
He also said that social dialogue was the best tool for attaining equal citizenship and minorities should avail the opportunities being provided by the government.
The minister further said that after the implementation of a 5% quota in government jobs for religious minorities in Punjab, 2% quota for religious minorities in government institutions of higher education has been allocated.
He said to end discrimination in the curriculum, the Secretary of Human Rights and Minority Affairs has been nominated as a member of the curriculum board while all the festivals of religious minorities were being celebrated with zeal at the official level.
The national dialogue was consisted of two-panel discussions on ‘minority education quota’ and ‘further research and data collection for equal citizenship and social cohesion’ respectively.
Prof. Dr. Asghar Zaidi emphasized the need for equal opportunities for ending social biases and antagonism within society.
Dr. Zakariya Zakir said that no society could live with divisions. Dr. Rubeena Zakir said that many seats were still lying vacant and minority candidates were not fully applying for admissions.
MPA Sadia Sohail highlighted the role of family and culture and stick to the teachings of Islam for treating minorities as equal citizens.
Dr. Sughra Sadaf talked about culture and said that there was no justification for religious discrimination in the land of Sufis. Muhammad Zubair briefed that the education quota has been framed in the light of constitutional requirements.