ISLAMABAD: The Foreign Office on Saturday dismissed as “mischievous” Delhi’s attempts at playing up isolated and fabricated incidents involving Pakistani minorities and warned that such negative tactics would not mask the plight of Indian minorities, who are being subjugated by extremist Hindus.

The FO said a senior diplomat from the High Commission of India was summoned for a demarche rejecting “the mischievous portrayal by India of isolated, fabricated incidents involving Pakistani citizens as minorities’ rights issues”.

The Indian diplomat was summoned a day after a Pakistani diplomat was called to India’s External Affairs Ministry for protesting and conveying concerns over abduction of Hindu girls in Sindh. It was claimed that two Hindu girls, Shanti Meghwad and Sarmi Meghwad, from Tharparkar were abd­ucted on Jan 14. In another incident, ano­ther Hindu girl Mehak, was allegedly abducted from Jacobabad on Jan 15. The FO said the Indian diplomat was reminded that minorities in Pakistan enjoyed “full protections and rights under the Constitution” and the legal system of Pakistan was fully capable of protecting their rights.

“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),” it further said.

FO summons Indian diplomat for demarche

India is witnessing a surge in violence against religious minorities, particularly Muslims. The violence is being fuelled by the BJP government’s Hindu nationalist ideology.

Meanwhile, protests against the recently enacted Citizenship Amendment Act 2019 and National Register of Citizens, which are discriminatory towards Muslims, have roiled India for weeks.

The Indian government was through the demarche asked to stop “feigning concern for minorities” in Pakistan for narrow political agenda. It was instead advised to focus on putting its own house in order and ensuring effective protection of Indian minorities, including from frequent incidents of mob lynching and repeated hate crimes.

It should be recalled that Delhi had last week attempted to raise concerns about the state of Sikhs in Pakistan by depicting a tea stall brawl in Nankana as violence against the Sikhs and desecration of one of their holy sites. India had on that occasion alleged “attack”, “vandalism” and “desecration” at Gurdwara Nankana Sahib and “targeted killing” of a Sikh youth in Peshawar.

Meanwhile, Indian Charge d’Affaires Gaurav Ahluwalia was also summoned to the FO for registering protest on ceasefire violations by India Indiscriminate and unprovoked firing by the Indian forces in Kotkotera Sector on Jan 18 caused injuries to 36-year-old Shamim Begum, wife of Raja Sajid.

Condemning the targeting of innocent civilians by the Indian occupation forces, the director general (SA & Saarc), Zahid Chaudhri, underscored that such senseless Indian acts further vitiate the tense atmosphere along the LoC and pose a threat to regional peace and stability.

Published in Dawn, January 19th, 2020