Interim Federal Minister for Religious Affairs and Inter-faith Harmony, Aneeq Ahmad, highlighted the importance of interfaith and intrafaith harmony for peace in the country. He emphasized that promoting religious tourism is a top priority for the government. Aneeq Ahmad discussed the need for unity, as there are enemies trying to create divisions and tarnish the country’s image. He stated that Pakistan is a peace-loving country and aims to showcase its beauty globally.

Regarding religious tourism, the Minister mentioned that previous governments made efforts in this area, but there is room for improvement. For instance, he pointed out that the number of visitors to Kartarpur is quite low, despite arrangements made for a larger capacity. The Minister suggested reviving track two diplomacy and people-to-people contacts to promote religious tourism. He also proposed considering night stays at Kartarpur to enhance the experience and reviving the bus service from Amritsar.

LCCI President Kashif Anwar spoke about the Lahore Chamber’s focus on promoting trade and industry, but also its efforts in the social sector and interfaith harmony. He expressed the Chamber’s strong condemnation of the desecration of the Quran in Sweden and the incidents in Jaranwala. Anwar urged the Minister to seek a United Nations resolution that respects religious sentiments and condemns such actions.

Anwar further noted the rising expenses of Hajj and Umrah due to rupee devaluation, making these religious obligations unaffordable for the common man. He suggested introducing special packages to ensure accessibility for everyone. He highlighted the potential of religious tourism to alleviate economic challenges and highlighted various religious sites in Pakistan that could be marketed at the international level. Anwar emphasized the need for security and facilities, suggesting public-private partnerships to achieve these goals.

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By hassani

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