Pakistan rejects 'mischievous portrayal' by India of isolated incidents as minorities' rights issues

Updated January 18, 2020

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Foreign Office Spokesperson Aisha Farooqui addressing a press briefing. — Photo courtesy Radio Pakistan
Foreign Office Spokesperson Aisha Farooqui addressing a press briefing. — Photo courtesy Radio Pakistan

The Foreign Office on Saturday summoned a senior Indian diplomat to "reject the mischievous portrayal by India of isolated, fabricated incidents involving Pakistani citizens as minorities' rights issues".

According to a statement by the FO, the Indian authorities were urged to "refrain from feigning concern for minorities elsewhere for a narrow political agenda".

The statement further said that the Indian authorities were asked to "focus on putting their own house in order" and ensure that minorities in India are provided effective protection against frequent mob lynchings and hate crimes.

"It was underscored that such machinations cannot divert attention from the criticism the Indian government is facing for its own discriminatory policies against minorities in India and the ongoing state terrorism in Indian Occupied Jammu & Kashmir (IOJ&K)," read the statement.

It was conveyed to the Indian side that minorities in Pakistan "enjoy full protections and rights under the Constitution", according to the statement.

It was also emphasised that Pakistan's legal system is "fully capable of protecting the rights of all its citizens".

Indian propaganda

Though the FO did not specify which incidents in particular the Indian diplomat was summoned in connection with, the development comes in the wake of the murder of Parvender Singh, a Sikh youth who was shot dead earlier this month in Peshawar's Chamkani area, allegedly at the behest of his fiancee.

The Indian Ministry of External Affairs tried to portray the murder as a targeted killing and urged the Pakistan government to punish perpetrators.

However, the Pakistani foreign affairs ministry rejected the allegation and said the Indian attempts to politicise the killing were mischievous and reprehensible.

Furthermore, the Sikh community in Shangla has rejected the Indian propaganda against Pakistan and said they are more secure than their brethren in India.

Speaking at a meeting, Tavindar Singh, the elder brother of the deceased, said that since his brother’s killing the Indian media and government had started a propaganda against Pakistan.

He said that they were living in Chakesar for last nine decades and had never even received any threat from anyone among the people here.

“We are living here like a family and Muslims give us due respect like their own people,” Tavindar said.

LoC violations

Separately, Indian Charge d’Affaires Gaurav Ahluwalia was summoned today by Director General (South Asia & SAARC) Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri to register Pakistan’s "strong protest at the ceasefire violations by Indian occupation forces along the Line of Control (LoC)", according to a statement by the FO.

"Due to indiscriminate and unprovoked firing by the Indian forces in Kotkotera Sector on January 18, 36-year-old Shamim Begum w/o Raja Sajid, resident of village Jugalpal, sustained serious injuries," said the statement.

It was emphasised that by heightening tensions along the LoC and the Working Boundary (WB), India "cannot divert attention from the worsening human rights situation" in India-occupied Jammu and Kashmir.