ISLAMABAD: President Dr Arif Alvi has revealed that not only Pakistan but Bangladesh is also quite worried about Muslims in India who have been discriminated against under the recent amendment made in the Citizenship Act, 1955.
“I have talked to Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wajed who is worried about the fate of Muslims in the Indian state of Bihar and feared influx of migrants to her country,” the president said during a meeting with a Saudi parliamentary delegation led by Chairman of the Shura Council Dr Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Ibrahim Al-Sheikh at the Presidency on Friday.
Press secretary to the president Mian Jehangir Iqbal told Dawn that Dr Alvi talked to Hasina Wajed during a recent conference in Baku where she expressed concern over amendments made in India’s Citizenship Act.
A source who attended the meeting said Mr Alvi was of the view that under the amended bill, Muslims in India have to present evidence of properties of their grandfathers to retain their citizenship.
The source quoted the president as saying: “Prime Minister Hasina Wajed feared that if any action is taken against Muslims of Bihar by the Indian government, they [Muslim if Bihar] will try to migrate to Bangladesh.”
According to an official press release, the president said Saudi Arabia has always played a proactive role in the challenges faced by the Ummah and urged the Kingdom to highlight the conspiracy being hatched against Muslims of India.
It has been reported that the Indian cabinet signed off on Dec 4 on a legislation that will give citizenship to certain religious minorities, excluding Muslims. The amended bill has provisions to determine various kinds of citizenship, including that by birth, by registration, by naturalisation or by descent. The bill, if passed, would change a key part in the category for illegal immigrants from Bangladesh and Pakistan — Muslim-majority states that were once part of the undivided India as defined in the Government of India Act, 1935.
It was revealed in the meeting that Saudi authorities were eager to hold a conference of Muslim countries on the miseries of Kashmiris who have been under curfew for over four months.
The Shura Council chairman reiterated Saudi Arabia’s support to Pakistan on the issue of Kashmir, the press release said.
PM meets Saudi delegation
In a separate meeting with the Saudi delegation, Prime Minister Imran Khan lauded the growing cooperation between the parliaments of Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. He apprised the Shura Council chairman of the dire human rights and humanitarian situation in India-held Kashmir marked by the inhuman lockdown and communications blockade, which had continued since Aug 5. “The world must take cognizance of India’s egregious violations of human rights in Occupied Kashmir, make all possible efforts to alleviate the sufferings of the Kashmiri people, and facilitate a peaceful resolution of the Kashmir dispute in accordance with UN Security Council resolutions,” he added.
Published in Dawn, December 7th, 2019