A special ceremony was held at the central secretariat under the banner of PAT and MQI to mark the religious festival of Christmas. A cake was cut at the end of the ceremony. Mr. Robert C. Newsome, head of the Economic and Political Affairs, US Consulate Lahore, was the guest of honour on the occasion.
Addressing the ceremony, Mr. Robert C. Newsome said that interfaith dialogue is essential for religious freedom. He said that the United States stands with followers of all religions that are making efforts for the establishment of peace. He said that we want Pakistan to be eternally peaceful, prosperous, secure and strong. He said that there is a need to promote the message of interfaith dialogue for establishment of durable peace in the world. He said that whether it is Muslim or Sikh, or Christian or Hindu, promotion of peace and love is the part and parcel of teachings of every religion.
The American diplomat said that in order to eliminate the scourge of terrorism and extremism, it is important that the followers of all religions have excellent and passionate relationship of deep understanding and amity. He congratulated Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri on holding Christmas ceremony in the secretariat of MQI and inviting the faith leaders to it. He said that we understand that Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri is playing an important role to promote the peaceful and inclusive message of Islam in the world.
PAT Secretary General Khurram Nawaz Gandapur welcomed the American diplomat on his arrival in the central secretariat of the party. He told the audience that MQI is working to connect the estranged the hearts. He said that knowledge, peace and research are the motto of MQI, which has been taken from the teachings of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). He said that Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri has made it known to the world through his intellectual and scholarly pursuits and research that Islam has got nothing to do with extremism and radicalism. He said that Islam is a religion of peace, interfaith dialogue and harmony. He congratulated the members of the Christian community on Christmas
Sajid Mahmood Bhatti, Secretary Coordination of PAT, conducted the proceedings of the programme. He welcomed all the guests on their arrival in the secretariat of MQI. Fr James Channan, Reverend Shahid Mehraj, Sardar Bishan Singh, Dr Prof Harman, Dr Manohar Chand, Pandit Bhagat Lal, Rev. Dr Marqis Fida, Allama Afzal Saeedi, Tanvir Khan, and Hafiz Ghulam Farid also spoke on the occasion. Fayyaz Warraich, Jawad Hamid, MWL office bearers and large number of youth attended the ceremony in large number.
The proceedings of the event got underway with the recitation of Holy Quran following by recitation of a few verses from Bible. Renowned Naat Khawan Zaheer Bilali had the honour of reciting Naat.
Fr James Channan said that Islam is a religion which protects the rights of even the enemies as well.
Pandit Bhagat Lal said that Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri has held the followers of all religions well-knit, adding that we pray for progress of the MQI.
Reverend Shahid Mehraj said on the occasion that all prophets have taught the lesson of love for the whole humanity.
Dr Manohar Chand said that the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) is a Prophet of peace for the whole world. He said that the non-Muslims have the same right on him as the Muslims.
Sardar Bishan Singh said that Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri and his organization are in the forefront to express their solidarity on the occasion of religious festivals of all faiths, adding that it is a matter of pride and happiness for all of us.