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India slams Pak PM, says focus on safety of your minorities instead of engaging in alarmist propaganda

Prime Minister Narendra Modi at an event in New Delhi on Monday (Image courtesy: PIB)

In a strong retaliation to Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif's recent comments on India, New Delhi said on Monday that the "absurdity of a serial violator of minority rights" commenting on the treatment of minorities in another nation is not lost on anyone.

In spite of relevant Indian bodies taking a strong action against certain individuals for their offensive tweets and comments denigrating a religious personality, Sharif had commented on Sunday that the Narendra Modi government is "trampling religious freedoms and persecuting Muslims".  

Taking note of the statements and comments from the Pakistani PM and its Ministry of Foreign Affairs, New Delhi reminded Islamabad today that the world has been witness to the systemic persecution of minorities including Hindus, Sikhs, Christians and Ahmadiyyas by Pakistan.

"The Government of India accords the highest respect to all religions. This is quite unlike Pakistan where fanatics are eulogized and monuments built in their honour," said the Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Arindam Bagchi in a statement on Monday.

"We call on Pakistan to focus on the safety, security and well-being of its minority communities instead of engaging in alarmist propaganda and attempting to foment communal disharmony in India," he added.

Interestingly, for the past many decades, Pakistan's treatment of its religious minorities including Ahmadis, Shia Muslims, Hindus, Christians, and Sikhs has been condemned all over the world.  

As they fight of their survival day in and day out, the Pakistani governments have over the years turned a blind eye towards forced conversions, killings, enforced disapperances, rapes, hate speech and blasphemy cases targeting the religious minorities of the country.  

A few months ago, the United Nations' human rights experts had condemned the reported conviction of leading Pakistani human rights defender and minority civil society activist Idris Khattak, who was sentenced to 14 years imprisonment following an apparent unfair trial by a military court in Pakistan.

“Mr. Khattak’s reported sentencing is an attack against the human rights community in Pakistan and sends a chilling message to civil society activists monitoring and reporting on alleged violations, committed by the military and security forces or with their consent or acquiescence, such as systematic or widespread enforced disappearances," the independent experts had said.

Similarly, a deep concern has been expressed repeatedly over the lack of attention to the serious human rights violations perpetrated against the Ahmadiyya Muslim community in Pakistan. 

Ahmadis in Pakistan are prohibited from identifying themselves as Muslims, freely expressing their beliefs, practicing their faith, and from effectively participating in public life.

India also reacted sharply today to the recent statement made by the General Secretariat of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), urging it to "stop pursuing its communal approach" and "show due respect" to all faiths and religions.

"Government of India categorically rejects OIC Secretariat's unwarranted and narrow-minded comments… It is regrettable that OIC Secretariat has yet again chosen to make motivated, misleading and mischievous comments. This only exposes its divisive agenda being pursued at the behest of vested interests," stated Bagchi.

On Sunday, India had told Qatar that strong action has already been taken against those who made derogatory remarks.

The Indian embassy in Doha had said that the Indian government accords the “highest respect to all religions” in line with the country's "civilisational heritage and strong cultural traditions of unity in diversity".

The embassy had added that "vested interests that are against India-Qatar relations" have been inciting the people using these derogatory comments. 

Similarly, the Indian embassy in Kuwait had responded to a statement issued by the foreign ministry of Kuwait saying that both countries should work together against such mischievous elements "who aim to undercut the strength" of bilateral ties.

Also Read: India informs Qatar that two anti-Islamic tweets were job of fringe elements, action has been taken against them