Dr Ramesh Kumar addresses 62nd Commonwealth Parlimentary Conference in London,UK

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London/Islamabad: (Dec 15, 2016) Patron-in-Chief of Pakistan Hindu Council and Member National Assembly Dr Ramesh Kumar Vankwani has said that freedom of religion is a fundamental human right as it protects the freedom for an individual to hold his religious or non-religious beliefs which means that how he thinks about himself, about humanity, about nature of the world, and about the obligations to others in private and at community level.

He was addressing the 62nd Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference, held at London, the UK, where parliamentarians belonging to different commonwealth countries participated to share their views.

Dr Ramesh Kumar Vankwani highly lauded the Commonwealth and its parliamentary association for the efforts to protect and promote freedom of religion and belief thought research, education and advocacy.

Dr Ramesh Kumar while giving reference of Article 18 of 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, said that everyone must be free to practice any religion through teaching, worship, observance and other peaceful means. He further referred Article 20 of the Constitution of Pakistan that also ensured the freedom to profess religion and to manage religious institutions.

Dr Ramesh Kumar Vankwani, in his address, also acknowledged the positive contributions of Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah for the freedom of religion.

“You are free; you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or to any other place or 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.” Dr Ramesh quoted Quaid-e-Azam who said this during the presidential address to the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan in 11th August 1947.

Dr Ramesh Kumar Vankwani also expressed his concern that freedom of religion or belief is still under threat in many parts of the world. Religious minorities, and in some cases majorities, in many countries face harassment, intimidation, discrimination, violence and forced conversions. “Some governments or powerful non-state actors have policies aimed at eradicating a religion or belief system from the country or area they control,” he regretted.

He was of the view that East or West no matters, the lack of tolerance towards religious freedom is seen in many parts including Myanmar, India, Pakistan, and also in western countries. “Fanatics, holding the extremist ideologies, have no religion at all, and could be found in every state to damage the humanity,” he said.

Dr Ramesh Kumar said that burning issue of Kashmir needs special assistance from international community, so that India’s massacre of basic human rights of Kashmiries could be protected. “The demolition of Babri Masjid by the Indian religious fanatics provided reasons for the Pakistani religious fanatics to carry on attacks against the minorities, and their holy places,” he added.

Dr Ramesh, in his concluding remarks, said that in the efforts towards making our planet a beautiful place to live for all, we need to realize the factors that create hindrances towards peace because there is a direct connection between peace, prosperity and democracy.

The address delivered by Dr Ramesh Kumar Vankwani received wide applause from the audience.

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