JAMSHORO: French Consul General CG Christian Ramage in Karachi has said that Islamic veil is strictly banned in schools and other educational institutions in France which is implemented in letter and spirit as the country is completely secular with free exercise of religions and freedom of preaching whereas Pakistan requires being a secular country to defeat extremism & terrorism.
He said the Pakistani government must ensure the rights of minorities and eradicate the culture of inequality between man and women. Ramage was delivering a lecture on “International Relations and Secularism” at Department of International Relations, University of Sindh Jamshoro.
The Consul General said that no one in schools was allowed to wear any scarf, burqa or turbans on the head because by this the religious harmony could be jeopardized in the country which is totally against the law. He said that the Muslims, Buddhists, Sikhs, Christians and others were allowed to wear scarves, hijabs and turbans at their own behest anywhere else except educational institutions as the government always wanted to synchronize the people of different religions.
He further said that two key things the education and health in France were quite free and the rich people and the government employees were bound to pay heavy taxes in order to meet these expenses. “I pay 40% of my wages on tax and the amount will be utilized on education and health of poor in our country”, the French Consul General said.
He maintained that there was no single element of religion in the constitution of France. “France is quiet peaceful and its constitution ensures the basic rights of the people and equality between man and woman” he stated.
He urged the students of I.R and Political Science departments to pay their attention towards international relations of Pakistan with China, USA, France and other countries. Ramage further said that the constitution of Pakistan was based on the ideology of Islam which he turned to be a good thing but according to him secularism is such a things which equally provides basic rights to both men and women and guarantee the rights of the minorities.
He said that the maxim of France was based on liberty, equality and fraternity by which the people had freedom of speech, expression, thought, ideas and freedom of religion adding that liberty is linked to tolerance whereas equality with diversity.
“Let me tell you the French does not want anybody to be left behind; the rich are bound to pay the taxes to ameliorate the condition of poor”, Ramage said. He claimed that all public sector universities were providing free education and the hospitals were giving health facilities without charge.
French CG further told that the 1905 law on secularism yet existed in the constitution which guaranteed free exercise of religion and it Republic did not recognize pay a wage to or subsidize any religious denomination.
Mr. Ramage advised the government of Pakistan to encircle the well-off persons in tax net so that the plight condition of the people may be made better adding that the rich do not pay taxes in the country and no action is seeing to be taken against them.
He said: the Muslim are second big population in France and over 2400 mosques and other religious places are available for them while the cemeteries in the country are also accessible under the umbrella of secularism in order that no any rift among the people of different walk of life & religions is experienced therein.
“Sindh University is an immense source of higher education, the students of international relations and political science departments must keep an active eye on global politics and the relations of their country Pakistan with the United Stated, France, Germany and China.” He advised.
He stressed the students to bump up liberty, fraternity, justice and equality in the country so that the country may be steered out of the crisis including fundamentalism, extremism, terrorism and injustices.