Hours after a Jodhpur court convicted actor Salman Khan in the 1998 blackbuck poaching case, Pakistan Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif linked the sentencing of the actor with religion and said he has been sentenced 'because he is a muslim'.
"Salman Khan has been sentenced because he's a minority. To sentence him in a case that is twenty years old goes on to show that lives of those who are Muslims 'untouchables' or Christians are not valued in India." Khwaja Asif told Pakistan-based channel Geo TV.
"Maybe if he belonged to the religion of the ruling party of India he would not have been given such a harsh sentence and the court might have been lenient with him," he claimed.
Salman was on Thursday found guilty of killing the blackbucks, from the antelope family, in Kankani village near Jodhpur on the night of October 1, 1998 during the shooting of the film "Hum Saath Saath Hain". The court also imposed a small fine of Rs 10,000 on Salman.
The four co-stars and a local, Dushyant Singh, were all acquitted.
Blackbuck is an endangered animal and included in the schedule-I of the Wildlife (Protection) Act-1972.