Prime Minister Imran Khan has condemned the controversial legislation passed by the Indian parliament which will grant citizenship to religious minorities from neighbouring countries, but not Muslims.
“We strongly condemn (the) Indian Lok Sabha citizenship legislation, which violates all norms of international human rights law and bilateral agreements with Pakistan,” he tweeted yesterday.
The premier described the move as “part of the RSS Hindu Rashtra design of expansionism propagated by the fascist Modi government”.
The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill provides that Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis, and Christians fleeing persecution in Muslim-majority Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan can be granted citizenship of India.
There are no similar provisions for Muslim refugees.
The bill sailed through the lower house with 311 votes in favour and 80 against shortly after midnight on Monday.
In a statement, Pakistan’s Foreign Office called the move “a complete violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international covenants on elimination of all forms of discrimination based on religion or belief”.
“The Lok Sabha legislation is also in complete contravention of various bilateral agreements between Pakistan and India, particularly the one concerning security and rights of minorities in the respective countries,” the statement read.
It added: “The latest legislation is another major step towards the realisation of the concept of ‘Hindu Rashtra’, idealised and relentlessly pursued by the right-wing Hindu leaders for several decades.
“It is driven by a toxic mix of an extremist ‘Hindutva’ ideology and hegemonic ambitions in the region.”
“We condemn the legislation as regressive and discriminatory, which is in violation of all relevant international conventions and norms, and a glaring attempt by India to interfere in the neighbouring countries with malafide intent,” the statement added.
Prime Minister Khan also reiterated calls for an end to India’s “gross abuse and oppression” of Kashmiris.
“On Human Rights Day, we must appeal to the world’s conscience, to upholders of international law and to the United Nations Security Council to act against the illegal annexation of Indian occupied Kashmir (IOK) by the Indian occupation government,” he tweeted.
“We salute and stand resolutely with the brave Kashmiris struggling for their right of self- determination,” Khan added.
Indian-administered Kashmir has been under military curfew since August 5, when Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi revoked the constitutional autonomy of the region and arrested thousands of people.
Since the annexation, New Delhi has also enforced a near complete communications blackout by blocking Internet and telecommunication services in the disputed territory.
In a separate tweet, Prime Minister Khan assured that his government remains committed to the protection of the rights of all citizens without discrimination.
“On International Human Rights Day, Muslims need to remember that the message of equality, justice and protection of human rights for all was given more than 1,400 years ago by our Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him),” the premier said.
Khan added that the message of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) “embodied the cardinal principles of respect for human rights and human dignity”.
The premier said his government is committed to the protection of human rights for all citizens as preached by the Prophet, especially in his last sermon.
World Human Rights Day is observed every year on December 10, the day the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948.
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