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January 19, 2020

Feigning concern for minorities: Mind your own business, Pakistan tells India

Top Story

January 19, 2020

ISLAMABAD: The Foreign Office on Saturday summoned a senior Indian diplomat and strongly rejected what it said was “the mischievous portrayal by India of isolated, fabricated, incidents involving Pakistani citizens as minorities’ rights issues”.

These strong words from Pakistan came on the heels of summoning of a senior official of the Pakistan High Commission by the Indian Ministry of External Affairs to lodge a strong protest and share serious concerns “about the recent cases of abduction of minor girls belonging to the minority Hindu community of Pakistan.” Both sides refrained, unlike in the past, from naming the diplomat summoned or the summoning authority on either side. There were reports that three minor Hindu girls had been abducted in Sindh.

“The authorities in India were urged to refrain from feigning concern for minorities elsewhere for a narrow political agenda, focus on putting their own house in order and ensure effective protection of Indian minorities, including from frequent incidents of mob lynching and repeated hate crimes against minorities,” the Foreign Office said in a statement.

New Delhi had while summoning Pakistani diplomat on Friday “conveyed the grave concerns as expressed amongst various quarters of the Indian civil society at such a shocking and deplorable incident involving minor girls from the minority Hindu community in Pakistan”. The Foreign Office conveyed to the Indian diplomat that minorities in Pakistan enjoy full protections and rights under the Constitution. “It was emphasised that the legal system of Pakistan is fully capable of protecting the rights of all of its citizens,” said the Foreign Office. It was underscored that such machinations could not divert attention from the criticism the Indian government was facing for its own discriminatory policies against minorities in India and the ongoing state terrorism in Indian Occupied Jammu & Kashmir (IOJ&K).

Earlier, the Foreign Office spokesperson reacted strongly to a statement from the Indian Army Chief General Rawat who not only made suggestions about sending Kashmiri children to deradicalization camps, but also called on FATF to put Pakistan on the black list as it was involved in terrorism. “These people (Kashmiri children) need to be taken out separately, possibly taken into some deradicalization camps. We’ve got deradicalization camps going on in our country,” Rawat had told a seminar.

The spokesperson said General Rawat’s talk of “deradicalization camps” for Kashmiri children was simply despicable. “It cannot be condemned enough,” she said. Turning to Gen. Rawat’s remarks on FATF, she said this was further proof of India’s repeated attempts to politicize FATF’s technical proceedings for advancing its narrow, partisan objectives. “Pakistan has consistently sensitised the world community about India’s malicious campaign in this regard. “We expect that the FATF members would reject these Indian machinations,” she added.

Pakistan says as a perpetrator of unabated state-terrorism in the Indian Occupied Jammu & Kashmir (IOJ&K), India was in no position to pontificate on the issue of terrorism. “The IOJ&K has already been turned into the world’s largest prison camp with 8 million Kashmiris incarcerated there since 5 August 2019. With over 900,000 Indian occupation forces perpetrating egregious violations of human rights; draconian laws such as Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) and Public Safety Act (PSA) enabling them complete impunity; and over 13,000 young Kashmiri boys abducted from their homes and away from their families,” added the spokesperson.

Pakistan said it expected the world community to take cognizance of the BJP government’s desperate attempts to divert attention from the unacceptable situation in IOJ&K, growing domestic protest against discriminatory laws and practices, and its unabashed animus towards India’s minorities. “India must be held accountable for its illegal actions,” she pointed out.