Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Friday paid tributes to the minorities for their contribution in nation-building and socio-economic development of the country. “On the National Day of Minorities, I join the nation in paying rich tributes to our non-Muslim citizens for their valuable contributions in nation-building and assure them of the government’s consistent and unwavering commitment to protecting their rights,” the prime minister said in a message in connection with the Day. He said today the nation celebrated the role and contributions of the non-Muslim citizens for peace, progress and prosperity of Pakistan on the National Day of Minorities. “Our minority communities are part and parcel of the Pakistani nationalism. From the freedom struggle to this day, they have contributed meaningfully to building the country. From defence to education to health to social service, there is no walk of life where our non-Muslim brothers and sisters have not played their role in the socio-economic development of the country,” he added. The Day, he said also drew the attention to Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s historic speech at the floor of the legislative assembly where he laid down the rules of engagement for the citizens with the newly created state of Pakistan. “The very idea of Pakistan is incomplete without our non-Muslim citizens. The ‘white’ colour of our flag symbolizes their place in the body politic of Pakistan,” he added. PM Shehbaz said from Jogendranath Mandal, Pakistan’s first law minister to Dr. Maira Phailbus to Dr Ruth Pfau to Justice Dorab Patel, the list of our Pakistani non-Muslim personalities of eminence was long whose contributions to public service continued to be celebrated. He said interfaith harmony was a marked feature of the national identity. Pakistan is a strong advocate of pluralism, and diversity. “Our Constitution guarantees the provision of social, political, religious and economic rights to all citizens without any discrimination of caste, creed and colour,” he said adding “I am happy to state that the empowerment of our minority communities has taken the center-stage of public policy, as successive governments have allocated resources and implemented policies aimed at their mainstreaming and empowerment”. The prime minister urged all segments of society to forge unity in their ranks. He said nothing was more powerful than the spirit of togetherness in a nation, for it powered its imagination and strengthened its resolve to overcome the odds. “‘Unity, faith and discipline’, the Quaid’s motto, shows us the way forward to navigate the challenges.” he added. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Friday decided to award ‘Tamgha-i-Imtiaz’ (posthumously) to the doctors and health workers who were martyred while providing medical treatment and care to the patients during the COVID-19 pandemic. It was decided that Tamgha-i-Imtiaz (posthumously) would be awarded to 81 doctors from Punjab, 87 from Sindh, 23 from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, eight from Balochistan, four from Azad Jammu and Kahsmir, and one each from Gilgit Baltistan and Islamabad. Likewise 59 nurses and frontline health workers from across Pakistan would also be honoured with Tamgha-i-Imtiaz (posthumously) for their services and saving lives of people without caring about their lives during the corona pandemic. The prime minister, in a statement, paid tributes to the doctors and frontline health workers who served the corona patients risking their own lives. “These sons and daughters of the soil embraced martyrdom from this deadly pandemic while fulfilling their responsibilities” and the whole nation would remain indebted to them, he added. PM Shehbaz also paid tributes to the family members of the martyred doctors and health workers, saying that they were pride of the nation.