By Muhammad Luqman
The National Assembly, the lower house of Pakistan’s Parliament has unanimously passed a resolution condemning the Indian government over discriminatory legislation against Muslims and human rights abuses in the occupied Kashmir.
The resolution, tabled by Federal Minister for Special Education Shafqat Mehmood, condemned India for passing a controversial citizenship act that grants nationality to persecuted Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians who fled Muslim-majority Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan prior to 2015.
The passage of the controversial Citizenship Amendment Bill led to violent demonstrations across India, as protesters said it would convert thousands of illegal immigrants into legal residents. Muslims also protested against the law as it does not give them the same rights to citizenship as members of other faiths, a move critics say undermines the secular constitution. At least six people have been killed and more than 100 injured since the passage of the bill.
The enactment of the citizenship law was a key election promise of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, re-energising his nationalist, Hindu support base.
Talking about the matter in the National Assembly, former speaker and PML-N leader Ayaz Sadiq said it was time to tell the entire world about the mindset which is “no longer confined to Kashmir but is plaguing the whole of India”. He stressed the need for a diplomatic offensive and said that Prime Minister Imran Khan should highlight the issue all over the world, according to English newspaper, Daily Dawn.
Khurram Dastagir, another PML-N MNA, said that India annexed occupied Kashmir 134 days ago and the Pakistani government did nothing practically for the people of the region. He said the government seemed to be paralysed at the diplomatic level.
“It seems that the government has accepted the annexation of Kashmir by India,” he said, adding that the people of Pakistan have not accepted the alleged move.
Dr Darshan of the PML-N said the entire Hindu community of Pakistan condemned Modi’s recent actions.
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi while talking about the matter noted that several countries including the United States, United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates, Canada and Singapore had issued travel advisories for their citizens against visiting India because of the unrest there. He said although the Bangladeshi government was considered close to India, its foreign minister had cancelled a planned visit in protest against the situation in India.
He said that Pakistan had already been highlighting the issue of extremism in Indian politics and cited the illegal annexation of Indian-occupied Kashmir, the controversial citizenship legislation in Assam and the discriminatory Citizenship Amendment Bill in this regard.
Referring to incidents of lynching of Muslims by cow vigilante mobs, the foreign minister said that Muslims and other minorities were the most insecure group in India.
Qureshi criticised the Indian government over a “brutal use of force” against students of Jamia Millia Islamia university and Aligarh Muslim University who were protesting against the new citizenship law. He also referenced a viral video of an Indian female student whose both legs were broken when police barged into her hostel room and beat her with sticks.
Nothing that the UN human rights office had also expressed concern over India’s new citizenship law, the minister said the legislation was part of the “RSS-Hindu Rashtra design of expansionism” propagated by Modi’s government.
Qureshi demanded of the Indian government to revoke the controversial legislation and release all detainees in Indian-occupied Kashmir.