FO rubbishes India's 'unwarranted concerns' regarding minority rights in Pakistan

Published January 2, 2021
FO spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri addresses a press conference. — DawnNewsTV/File
FO spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri addresses a press conference. — DawnNewsTV/File

Pakistan on Saturday rubbished "unwarranted assertions" by the Indian Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) regarding the burning down of a Hindu temple in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa's Karak district earlier this week.

"This is not the first time the Indian government has tried to feign concern for minority rights elsewhere, while being the most egregious and persistent violator of minority rights itself," a statement by FO spokesman Zahid Hafeez Chaudri said.

The FO statement comes after India conveyed "serious concerns" to the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi at "repeated instances of similar nature against members of the minority community", The Wire reported while quoting official sources.

According to the report, India also asked for the investigation report of the incident to be shared with the Ministry of External Affairs and reiterated the message that the government of Pakistan is "expected to look after the safety, security and well-being of its minority communities".

A similar report was also published by The Hindu.

In a statement released today, the FO spokesman said: "From the discriminatory Citizenship Amendment Act to the National Register of Citizens (NRC), from the Gujarat massacre of 2002 to the Delhi pogrom of 2020, from the reprehensible demolition of Babri Mosque in 1992 to the despicable acquittal of all the accused by Indian court in 2020, from blaming Muslims for spreading coronavirus to banning of inter-faith marriages, from cow vigilantism and mob lynchings to terming the Muslims of West Bengal ‘termites’ and threatening to ‘throw them into the Bay of Bengal’, from extra-judicial killings of innocent Kashmiris to blatant attempts to turn Muslims into a minority in occupied Kashmir through distribution of ‘fake domicile certificates’, the RSS-BJP regime’s record is replete with instances of gross and systemic violations of the rights of minorities, in particular Muslims."

He stated that as a "perennial purveyor of state-sponsored discrimination against its minorities, India was in no position to pontificate on the state of minority rights elsewhere".

He said that there was a clear difference between the state of minority rights in India and Pakistan based on the fact that the accused in the Karak incident were immediately arrested, orders were issued for restoring the temple, the highest level of judiciary took immediate notice, and the senior political leadership condemned the incident.

"Whereas in India, blatant acts of discrimination against Muslims and other minorities take place with state complicity. The Indian leadership is yet to condemn the perpetrators of the Delhi massacre in February 2020, let alone bring those criminals to justice," the FO statement said, referring to violence in the Indian capital that claimed the lives of at least 50 people.

"Given these incontrovertible facts, the Indian government would be well advised to set its own house in order rather than feigning concern for minority rights elsewhere," the statement concluded.

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