Christian community played
vital role in building
Pakistan stable: Moazzam Khan

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Nation special report

LONDON: Keeping the its tradition, the Pakistan High Commission hosted the Annual Christmas Reception at its premises on Thursday evening (16-12-21) with Reverend Andrew Watson, Bishop of Guilford as the Chief Guest. Patricia Scotland (Secretary General Commonwealth), Rev Bishop Michael Nazir Ali; Dr James Shera; Christian and Muslim religious leaders and British Pakistani Christian community attended the event.

Welcoming the guests, the High Commissioner Moazzam Ahmad Khan said that Christmas was a time to remember the life, and the sacrifices of Jesus and recall his universal message of compassion and humanity.

LONDON: Pakistan High Commissioner Moazzam Ahmad Khan, Rev Andrew Watson, Michael Nazir Ali; Dr James Shera, Patricia Scotland, Reverend Rana Yaqub Khan, Arif Anees Malik and others addressing at the Annual Christmas Reception at the Pakistan High Commission London on Thursday (16-12-21)
LONDON: Pakistan High Commissioner Moazzam Ahmad Khan presenting souvenirs to the guests at the Annual Christmas Reception at the Pakistan High Commission London on Thursday.
LONDON: Pakistan High Commissioner Moazzam Ahmad Khan, Mrs. Moazzam Ahmed, Dr. James Shera and others cutting the cake at the Annual Christmas Reception at the Pakistan High Commission London Thursday.

Appreciating their constructive role from the struggle for independence and in building a new nation state, the High Commissioner stated that the Pakistani Christians were very much part of Pakistan’s rich cultural, spiritual and civilizational tapestry. He further said that safeguarding minority rights was part of Pakistan’s foundational ethos and the Government of Pakistan was fully cognizant of its responsibilities in this regard.

The High Commissioner recalled that on Christmas Day, we also celebrate the birth anniversary of Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founding father of Pakistan, reaffirming our commitment to his vision for a democratic polity, where all citizens enjoyed equal rights, regardless of their race, religion or creed.

The speakers shed light on the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. They emphasized on promoting interfaith harmony and dialogue among civilizations for universal brotherhood and peaceful co-existence. The speakers also appreciated the vision of the Quaid-i-Azam for an inclusive and plural Pakistan. Reverend Rana Yaqub Khan and Arif Anees Malik moderated the event.

Former Mayor of Rugby Dr. James Shera

LONDON: Pakistan High Commissioner Moazzam Ahmad Khan presenting gift to Dr. James Shera.

Addressing the event, the former Mayor of Rugby Dr. James Shera MBE (Sitara-e- Pakistan) said; “It is my privilege, and I am delighted to be here with the community and the people who are gathered to celebrate Christmas. I am thankful to you for your continual support and care, which is a special blessing for me and the Pakistani community in UK, and a relationship which I treasure. Furthermore, I congratulate the staff of our High Commission in the UK for promoting unity, dignity and harmony among the different Pakistani groups in the Diaspora.

He said that the real message of Christmas is about caring and sharing the fragrance of peace by creating a loving society, with no barriers of hatred, discrimination and inequality and where religious harmony and the message of love and respect, overcomes all hatreds, and remains forever and for every person.    

Referring the history of Pakistan, Dr. James Shera said that the foundations of Pakistan were created on a bedrock of inclusivity and diversity within communities. Jogendra Nath Mandal, the first law minister, and Sir Zafar Ullah Khan, the great diplomat, first Asian and the first Pakistani who represented Pakistan in the International court of Justice, were both among the founding fathers. Similarly, Sir Victor Turner formed the superior institutions of the Civil Service of Pakistan, and the Federal Board of Revenue.

LONDON: Christmas carols being sung by local singers at the Annual Christmas Reception at the Pakistan High Commission London on Thursday.

“Along with many others, they resolved many diverse issues with their profound experience and engagement; they worked untiringly for the prosperity of newly established Pakistan. Their noble services were inspired by Mr Jinnah’s vision and assurance to religious communities to serve nation regardless of ethnicity, belief or religion; and, in return, their status and respect in the new country would be no less than any other citizen.

“This valuable notion was the pivotal clause of the freedom movement also.  Therefore, in order to create a society without discrimination, prejudice, inequality, and injustice, we are duty bound to follow the virtues set by Mr Jinnah”.

Dr. James Shera said; “I am proud, and sure that my fellow participants will agree that your office is taking initiatives consistently to promote religious harmony and to unite communities from multi-faith groups. Such continued endeavours will surely overcome every obstacle and overcome the monster of hatred and prejudice, such as we have experienced in the Sialkot incident, which has shaken the foundation of our beloved country”.

A group picture shows Dr. James Shera, Reverend Dr. Yaqub Khan, businessman Sajid Khan, Senior journalist Ijaz Ahmed and other guests at the reception.

Appreciating the Pakistan High Commissioner, Dr. James Shera said; “Your influential position and key role in the UK can undoubtedly resolve critical issues for the minorities in Pakistan.  Therefore, we request you to keep promoting the exemplary support and effort that encapsulate the vision of Mr Jinnah’s Pakistan”.

Dr. James Shera, the former mayor of Rugby (1988-89) and longest serving Labour councillor for Benn Ward (since 1981) and recipient of honorary doctorate by Coventry University this year, further said he assures on behalf of the Christian community in the Diaspora, that we will always lead from the front when it comes to an inclusive, diverse and peaceful Pakistan.

He said that he wishes the joys and happiness of Christmas to all including the Rev Andrew Watson, Bishop of Guildford on behalf of Christian community in UK. He concluded his speech saying “Happy Christmas and Pakistan Zinda Baad (long live Pakistan).