At Hindu temple, Pakistan PM reaches out to minorities

Source: Reuters

By Drazen Jorgic | KATAS, PAKISTAN

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Wednesday inaugurated the restoration of an ancient Hindu temple complex in Punjab, a symbolic gesture that may appeal to the Muslim nation’s minority communities and soften the country’s image abroad.

However, the visit and other recent overtures to minority faiths and women, including the passing of pro-women legislation, could also alienate powerful religious hardliners opposed to social change.

Sharif’s visit to the 900-year-old Katas Raj temples, one of the holiest sites in South Asia for Hindus, comes at a time when relations with Pakistan’s Hindu-majority neighbour India are at a low ebb and show few signs of improving.

“In my personal view, we are all are equal – Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, Christians – and people belonging to other religions; we are all one,” Sharif told Reuters after a Hindu ritual was performed at the temples, located in the village of Katas some 110 km (70 miles) south of the capital Islamabad.

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