ISLAMABAD: The Ministry of Religious Affairs has notified the newly formed National Commission for Minorities and its Terms of Reference, which provide assurances that places of worship for non-Muslim minorities will be kept safe and functional.
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Sindh leader and former Pakistan Hindu Council president Cheela Ram Kilwani, who hails from a Jamshoro business family, has been named the new chairman of the commission.
According to a notification from the Ministry of Religious Affairs, the commission will have 12 non-governmental members, including six government officials and a chairman, for a period of three years.
Of these 12 members, 2 belong to the Muslim, 3, 3 Hindu and Christian communities while 2 belong to the Sikh community, as well as the Parsi and Kailash communities will be represented by one member each.
Apart from Cheela Ram Kilwani, the newly formed Hindu members of the commission are Karachi social activist Dr. J Paul Chhabria and former Sukkur bureaucrat Vishnu Raja Qawi.
Members of the Christian community include former Khyber Pakhtunkhwa minister Prof. Dr. Sarah Safdar, Archbishop Sebastian Frances Shaw of the Catholic Church in Lahore, and Albert David, chairman of the Pakistan United Christian Movement, a political party.
The two Sikh members include Sarup Singh, a senior Khair Pakhtunkhwa government official, and Dr. Mampal Singh of King Edward Medical University in Lahore.
Similarly, former Senator Roshan Khurshid Bharucha is a member of the Parsi community who has also been a minister in the caretaker government of Balochistan.
Dawood Shah, a social worker, and a small business owner will represent the Kailash community.
On the other hand, the two Muslim members of the commission are from Lahore, including Maulana Syed Muhammad Abdul Kabir, Khatib of Badshahi Mosque, and Mufti Gulzar Ahmad Naeemi, son of Dr. Sarfraz Naeemi.
Similarly, government officials will include officials from the Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Law, Ministry of Human Rights, Federal Ministry of Education Grade 20 or above, Chairman of the Islamic Ideological Council, and Secretary of the Ministry of Religious Affairs.
According to the term of reference, the commission will make recommendations for formulating a national policy to promote interfaith harmony and peace in the country.