India should focus on protecting minorities instead of indulging in propaganda: FO

ISLAMABAD: The Foreign Office (FO) on Monday called on India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government to protect India’s minorities from “saffron terror” while rejecting Indian propaganda regarding the treatment of minorities in Pakistan.

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In a sternly worded statement, the FO said: “The RSS [Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh]-inspired BJP government has absolutely no credentials even to pretend that it is a protector of minorities.

“Those who are responsible for the desecration and demolition of the Babri mosque, massive killings of thousands of Muslims in Gujarat, frequent incidents of mob lynching, and repeated hate crimes against minorities, simply have no feet to stand on.

“Rather than feigning any dishonest concern for minorities elsewhere, the BJP government would do better by focusing on the ongoing human tragedy at home and protecting India’s minorities from ‘saffron terror’,” the statement read.

The FO rejected Indian propaganda regarding the treatment of minorities in Pakistan. They said the BJP government was using incidents of alleged persecution of minorities in Pakistan to divert attention from the situation in occupied Kashmir and discrimination against minorities in India.

On Friday, two groups had an altercation outside the Gurdwara Janam Asthan in Nankana Sahib over a minor issue, but an individual tried to give communal colour to the dispute. It was foiled by the timely involvement of the city administration and arrest of the perpetrators.

“The BJP government’s mischievous portrayal of isolated law and order incidents in Peshawar and Nankana Sahib as alleged ‘persecution’ of minorities is part of its smear campaign against Pakistan and a desperate attempt to divert attention from the ongoing state terrorism in Indian Occupied Jammu & Kashmir (IOJ&K) and systematic discrimination against minorities in India.

“Pakistan completely rejects these fabrications, which will in no way shield the BJP government from opprobrium by the international community on its illegal actions in IOJ&K and the adverse fallout of the discriminatory Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and National Register of Citizens (NRC).”

In the statement, the FO said Pakistan “attaches the highest respect and sanctity” to places of worship including those belonging to Sikhism.

“We categorically reject Indian allegations regarding any ‘attack’ and ‘desecration’ at the holy Gurdwara Nankana Sahib.

“These blatant lies are yet another illustration of the quintessential RSS-BJP propaganda drive, which will fail.”

The FO said the Sikh community around the globe is aware of the importance that Prime Minister Imran Khan’s government attaches to minorities and their places of worship, adding that the November 9, 2019, opening of the Kartarpur Corridor was a “clear manifestation” of the premier’s vision of this.

“Indian attempts to politicise the tragic killing of a Pakistani Sikh youth are also mischievous and reprehensible,” the FO said. They said a case had immediately been registered as the crime was reported and a high-powered committee was constituted to investigate the matter.

“The law will take its course and those responsible will be brought to justice.”

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