The Punjab government offered interest free loans to more than 400 Christian entrepreneurs on Dec. 20 at an event held in a Protestant cathedral as part of ongoing Christmas celebrations.
“We have come to share your joys in the house of God. Christians are our priority as we feel they are far behind others,” said Dr. Muhammad Amjad Saqib the chairman of the Akhuwat (brotherhood) Foundation during an address to beneficiaries of Chief Minister Punjab’s Khud Rozgar (self-employment) scheme at Central Cathedral of Praying Hands in Lahore.
“The Muslim majority must protect the rights of religious minorities who feel insecure in the country. It’s not about giving money but building a relationship of friendship,” said Saqib.
Each of the entrepreneurs received different loans ranging from 10,000 rupees (US$ 95) to 50,000 rupees (US$ 477). All up, $US 92,058 was given out in loans.
Informal moneylenders in villages and cities in Pakistan are known for exploiting needy people by offering private loans loaded with huge interests rates.
The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly in September passed a law that recommended up to 10 years imprisonment for those exploiting the poor in the guise of loans.