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Pak criticises India for slamming PM Imran's comments on citizenship act


Islamabad, Dec 13: Pakistan on Friday hit back at India for criticising Prime Minister Imran Khan''s remarks on India''s new citizenship law, saying it is premised on "falsehood".

Imran Khan

Prime minister Khan on Thursday criticised the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill as a manifestation of India under Prime Minister Narendra Modi going ahead with "Hindu supremacist agenda".

On Tuesday, Khan said the bill "violates all norms of international human rights law and bilateral agreements with Pakistan" and that "it is part of the RSS Hindu Rashtra design of expansionism."

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India on Thursday lambasted Prime Minister Khan for castigating the bill, saying such "unwarranted" criticism cannot absolve Pakistan of the "blatant persecution" of religious minorities in the neighbouring country.

External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said the persecution of the religious minorities in Pakistan flows from the country''s Constitution and its "draconian" blasphemy laws.

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"I am not going to respond to every unwarranted and gratuitous comments made by Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan on our internal affairs," Kumar said.

The new citizenship law seeks to provide citizenship to non-Muslim persecuted religious minorities from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Reacting to Kumar''s statement, the Pakistan Foreign Office said on Friday: "We reject comments by the Indian Ministry of External Affairs''s Spokesperson about a tweet of the Prime Minister of Pakistan regarding discriminatory citizenship bill passed by the Indian Parliament this week".

Many international human rights organisations and neutral observers even from within India have described as unconstitutional the legislation discriminatory against Muslims, it said.

"We reiterate that this Indian legislation is premised on falsehood, both with regard to the alleged decline in non-Muslim population in Pakistan as well as their alleged persecution in the country," the Foreign Office said.

India should be the "last country to pretend being a protector" of the minorities, as the international media widely "reported on and condemned the deplorable conditions of the minorities in India", especially since the current BJP government took office in 2014, it said.

It also claimed that the "persecution" of nearly 8 million Kashmiri Muslims for over four months was a testimony to India being a country with no respect for human rights and minority rights.

"We urge the international community to take notice of the violation of minorities'' rights in India, including the Muslims of Jammu and Kashmir," it said.

The Ministry of External Affairs in New Delhi has said the new law provides expedited consideration for Indian citizenship to persecuted religious minorities already in India from certain contiguous countries.

It asserted that every nation has the right to enumerate and validate its citizenry, and to exercise the prerogative through various policies.

Assam, Tripura, Meghalaya and parts of Arunachal Pradesh have been witnessing large-scale protests in the last two days with thousands of people hitting the streets defying prohibitory orders to demand scrapping of the contentious law.

At least two persons died due to bullet injuries on Thursday after police opened fire on protesters in Guwahati, capital of Assam.

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