Pakistan rejects criticism over acquittal of UN-designated persons

Published November 13, 2021
Foreign Office spokesperson Asim Iftikhar Ahmad addresses a press conference in Islamabad. — Photo courtesy Radio Pakistan/File
Foreign Office spokesperson Asim Iftikhar Ahmad addresses a press conference in Islamabad. — Photo courtesy Radio Pakistan/File

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Friday rejected the criticism by India over acquittal of UN-designated persons by the Lahore High Court.

“This is not the first time that the Indian media has tried to sensationalise legal proceedings of UN-designated persons and this is basically designed to serve a vested agenda,” Foreign Office spokesman Asim Iftikhar told the weekly press briefing.

He said Pakistan’s criminal justice system was grounded on the principle of due process and the rule of law.

“It allows even the convicted individuals the fundamental right to exhaust all legal means that are available to them. The cases reported by the Indian media have not reached finality,” he said.

He pointed out that UN-designated persons related to this case continued to be interned after being convicted in other cases.

“The Indian media reports are trying to twist the facts…”, he deplored.

Referring to the second anniversary of the opening of the Kartarpur Corridor, dubbed the ‘Corridor of Hope’ by the UN secretary general, he said the corridor was a shining example of Pakistan’s efforts to promote interfaith harmony and it was reflective of the primacy Pakistan accorded to religious minorities in the country.

“The corridor is open from the Pakistan side since June 2020. We expect that India, in the same spirit, will allow pilgrims to avail the corridor to visit Kartarpur Sahib,” he added.

He said Pakistan was all set to welcome thousands of devotees from India and around the world coming to Pakistan for the coming birth anniversary celebrations of Baba Guru Nanak from Nov 17-26 for which elaborate arrangements had been put in place.

“As the minorities in Pakistan celebrate their religious festivities and enjoy freedom of religion, we note with growing concern how minorities in India, particularly Muslims, are being systematically persecuted and ostracised under the Hindutva driven ideology of the BJP-RSS combine,” he said.

The spokesman said it was reprehensible that targeting of Muslims, their properties and houses of worship had been continuing since last month.

“The extent of impunity and state complicity is such that draconian laws are being slapped against those drawing attention towards the ongoing blatant violations,” he deplored.

He said besides closing its eyes to radical mobs, the Indian authorities were also pursuing anti-Muslim citizenship-related policies and actions, including the mischievous NRC scheme which was meant to disenfranchise millions of Muslims.

Published in Dawn, November 13th, 2021

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