Pakistan Railways and Human Rights ministries have joined hands, and plan to run a special train at Christmas to express solidarity with the minority Christian community.
They’re calling it the “human rights train” and it is going to be the first rail service run to celebrate a minority festival. It will depart from Rawalpindi on December 22.
The train will reach Peshawar the same day before leaving for Rawalpindi on December 23. It will then be going to Lahore, the final destination of its journey, on Dec 24.
The ones who’re going to see the train off are the Railway Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique and Federal Minister for Human Rights Kamran Michael, the only non-Muslim minister in the cabinet.
The train is going to be decorated with messages of religious tolerance, brotherhood and love in all of its five carriages.
Expression of Gratitude from the Christian Community
The special train is going to be symbol for highlighting the role of Christians in the creation of the country, stated Mr. Kamran. The constitution of Pakistan grants non-Muslim the freedom to observe their religions, he added.
Father Qaiser Feroz, executive secretary of the Pakistani Bishops’ Social Communications Commission welcomed the first Christmas train in Pakistan and said:
“It is a unique initiative to boost the campaign for harmony and peace. We only had such trains on Eid and other special occasions in the past.
It is a powerful message to extremists who do not tolerate followers of other religions. The government should think of more ways to endorse religious harmony.”
Father James Channan, a regional coordinator of the United Religions Initiative Pakistan, said it was an admirable gesture. He congratulated the ministers and said that they have doubled the joy of Christmas with this new initiative. He said that he hopes that passengers who want to spend time with their families will be given discounts.
“There is a great need to promote the message of religious harmony at present, when terrorism and hate prevail” he further added.