Pakistan rejects Indian remarks, asks India to take steps for protecting minority rights

A systematic campaign remains underway to demonize Muslims, says FO

News Desk April 21, 2020
FO spokesperson Aisha Farooqui. PHOTO: FILE

Pakistan has rejected remarks made by India's Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson's as "irresponsible and completely ill-founded" and said it is reflective of New Delhi's "perennial state of denial with regard to the rights of minorities, particularly Muslims".

"The treatment of minorities in India is a matter of serious concern not only for the Indian minorities and the neighbouring countries but also for the international community," said a statement by the Foreign Office.

The Indian foreign ministry had accused Islamabad of making baseless allegations against India instead of "concentrating on fighting Covid-19".

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The FO further added that it was deeply disconcerting that the discriminatory and anti-Muslim policies and practices of the RSS-inspired BJP government persist even as the Covid-19 pandemic unfolds.

Multiple reports from India paint a grim picture for the country's Muslim minority, with treatment being denied in some cases and segregation on the basis of religion in hospitals.

"A systematic campaign remains underway to demonize Muslims, who face further exclusion as well as increasing threat of mob violence," said Spokesperson Aisha Farooqui.

She added that these instances have been extensively documented in Indian and international media and "people of conscience worldwide are raising their voices".

The FO advised India to take effective steps to protect the fundamental rights of its minorities and to heed the calls of its own minorities and civil society, its neighbours, and the international community.

Earlier, Prime Minister Imran Khan had hit out at his Indian counterpart for “targeting” the minority Muslim community, describing it as an attempt to divert backlash from coronavirus lockdown, “which has left thousands hungry”.

“The deliberate and violent targeting of Muslims in India by the Modi government to divert the backlash over its Covid-19 policy, which has left thousands stranded and hungry, is akin to what Nazis did to Jews in Germany. Yet [this is] more proof of the racist Hindutva supremacist ideology of Modi government,” he said in the tweet.

The Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation has also condemned the unrelenting vicious Islamophobic campaign in India maligning Muslims for the spread of coronavirus (Covid-19) as well as their negative profiling in media subjecting them to discrimination and violence with impunity.