TIME Pakistan

In a Show of Tolerance, Pakistan Declares Hindu and Christian Festivals as Holidays

Pakistani Christian worshipers pray and hold candles during
Rana Sajid Hussain—Pacific Press/LightRocket/Getty Images Pakistani Christian worshipers pray and hold candles during an Easter vigil mass at Regal Church, Lahore on April 5, 2015.

The move comes after a resolution initiated by a Hindu lawmaker

Muslim-majority Pakistan on Tuesday adopted a resolution to declare the Hindu festivals Diwali and Holi, and the Christian festival of Easter, as public holidays, in a significant step for the country’s beleagured religious minorities.

The resolution in parliament, initiated by Hindu lawmaker Dr. Ramesh Kumar Vankwani, called for holidays for religious minorities in the officially Islamic nation, Pakistan’s Express Tribune newspaper reported.

Vankwani said the declaration of such holidays was essential for Pakistan’s “good image” abroad, since Muslim holidays, such as Eid and Muharram, are already observed in countries like the United States and South Asian neighbor India.

Pakistan’s treatment of its minorities often makes headlines for the wrong reasons, with the country’s contentious blasphemy law frequently used to disproportionately target them.

[Express Tribune]

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