Prominent members of the Christian community urged the government to ensure security measures for their worship places and neighborhoods during Christmas celebrations, akin to the support provided for Muslim religious festivals. Expressing a sense of deprivation, they highlighted the lack of holidays and special bazaars dedicated to their community, emphasizing the need for equal treatment as citizens.
The Christian leaders appealed to the government for the early release of salaries to Christian employees, enabling them to make necessary arrangements for Christmas. Additionally, they advocated for the establishment of Christmas holidays and affordable markets preceding their religious festivities. Uninterrupted natural gas and power supply to Christian localities during the Christmas festival were also emphasized.
Akmal Bhatti, Chairman of the Minority Alliance, cited Article 25 of the Constitution, asserting the government’s duty to ensure security measures comparable to those provided during Eidul Fitr and Eidul Azha. He condemned the discrimination faced by the Christian minority, noting that they often resort to strikes to receive salaries before their festivals.
Highlighting the absence of relief for Christian festivals in Pakistan, Bhatti urged the government to take decisive action. He recalls the previous tradition of grand ceremonies during Christmas at the President House or Prime Minister House, expressing disappointment in its discontinuation. Bhatti proposed the release of Christian prisoners during their religious festivals as a demonstration of equality.
Shireen Aslam, a minority rights activist, suggested offering discounts on household items, especially bakery items, for the Christian community during Christmas. She pointed out challenges faced in implementing such initiatives. Aslam called for the District Peace and Interfaith Harmony Committee to celebrate festivals of all religious communities, fostering respect for diverse holy events.
Ijaz Alam Augustin, former human rights minister, recommended the government to establish Christmas bazaars where the Christian community can purchase clothes and essentials for their children at discounted prices. Drawing inspiration from other countries, he suggests encouraging businesses to offer discounts and providing Christmas packages to needy individuals and widows within the minority community, akin to practices in neighboring India. Overall, these calls underscore the importance of inclusivity and support for all communities during festive seasons.