Pakistan is a state in which its various institutions are at loggerheads amongst themselves. Also, Pakistan has the ugly habit on discussing every Indian domestic issue. As the Indian Parliament passed the Citizenship Amendment Bill, that has now become the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) in India, Pakistan National Assembly debated this issue. Islamabad or for that matter no other country has any locus standi on the issue as it is India’s internal matter. The Citizenship Amendment Act, aims at giving Indian citizenship to persecuted minorities from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh.
The furore in Pakistan due to India’s CAA is because Islamabad is now shamed internationally for the treatment of its minorities. The country has a dismal record in handling its minority population, who live in deep fear of the state, which is duty bound to protect its citizens. The world has seen how fundamentalists in the country reacted to the verdict of the Pakistan Supreme Court, when it set free Aasia Bibi, the Christian lady, on alleged charges of blasphemy. She, her family and her lawyer had to flee Pakistan and seek refuge abroad.
Now, Pakistan is trying to portray itself as a messiah of the minority communities. The government of Pakistan should do some soul searching. None other than Jogendra Nath Mandal, a founding member of the Pakistan Muslim League, and the first Law and Labour Minister of Pakistan had to flee from Pakistan in the 1950’s due to the ill-treatment of the newly born country towards its minorities. Mr. Mandal later on renounced his Pakistani citizenship and sought refuge on the outskirts of Kolkata.
Another illustrious son of Pakistan, Justice Dorab Patel, who was a Zorastrian (Parsi), was overlooked for Chief Justiceship as he was the sole dissenting judge for the death penalty given to former Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. There are many examples. Even, the father of Pakistan’s nuclear programme Dr A Q Khan, was discriminated upon as he belonged to the ‘Ahmediya’ sect.
India has firmly rejected Pakistan Assembly’s Resolution that made references to matters that are entirely the internal affairs of India. The Indian External affairs Ministry said, it is a thinly-veiled attempt by Pakistan to further its false narrative on the issue of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh. It seeks to provide justification for Pakistan’s unrelenting support for cross-border terrorist activities in India. New Delhi is confident that such attempts will fail.
India further said, the Resolution is a poorly disguised effort to divert attention from Pakistan’s appalling treatment and persecution of its own religious minorities. The demographics of these minorities, whether Hindu, Christian, Sikh or other faiths, in Pakistan speak for themselves.
The Resolution intentionally mischaracterizes the objectives of India’s Citizenship Amendment Act 2019. This Act gives citizenship to foreigners from selected countries who are persecuted religious minorities. It does not take away the citizenship of any Indian irrespective of her or his faith.
It is laughable that the National Assembly of Pakistan that has itself passed discriminatory legislation against religious minorities, should point fingers at others. India calls upon Pakistan to engage in serious self-introspection rather than to falsely accuse others of what they themselves are guilty of.
Pakistan would do well to remember that India is the world’s largest democracy, that all its Governments have been freely and fairly elected through universal adult franchise, and that all Indians irrespective of faith enjoy equal rights under the Constitution. The statement urged Pakistan to similarly aspire to these ideals.
Incidentally, the Pakistan Assembly’s discussion on India’s CAA took place on a day when former President Gen Pervez Musharraf was awarded the death penalty for ‘High Treason’ by a Special Court, headed by the Peshawar High Court Chief Justice Waqar Ahmed Seth. Musharraf is in currently exile in Dubai. The Pakistan Army quickly responded to the verdict by saying that Musharraf is a loyal Pakistani.
Thus, the one-upmanship between the various arms of the Pakistan state continues like a soap-opera.
Script: Kaushik Roy, AIR: News Analyst