ISLAMABAD: The Foreign Office has categorically rejected the Indian government and the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leadership’s baseless allegations of persecution of minorities in Pakistan.
In a statement, Foreign Office Spokesperson Dr. Mohammad Faisal said that in actual fact, the percentage of minorities in Pakistan (formerly West Pakistan) has increased over the past decades.
He noted that according to the first Census in Pakistan (1951), the total population of minorities in West Pakistan (today’s Pakistan) was 3.12%, which increased up to 3.72% by 1998. Subsequent censuses held in Pakistan also reflect an overall increase in the share of minorities: 2.96 % in the second Census (1961); 3.25% in third Census (1972); 3.33% in the fourth Census (1981); and 3.72% in fifth Census (1998). The 1998 Census data further show that the Hindu population of Pakistan increased from around 1.5% (in 1951) to nearly 2% in 1998.
“Pakistan, therefore, condemns the distortion of facts by the BJP government and leadership to justify the discriminatory legislation like Citizenship (Amendment)Act,” the spokesperson added.
Dr. Faisal said that this attempt, however, is not surprising in view of the smear campaign against Pakistan, being waged by the Indian government, based on falsehoods and aimed at misleading its own people as well as the international community.
The Indian government’s claims are also an attempt to cover up its systematic efforts to marginalize and disenfranchise India’s religious and social minorities, particularly Muslims.
India’s pretentions of casting itself as a ‘haven’ for minorities are completely devoid of any credibility. The rising wave of “Hindutva” under the BJP government has led to rapid political, economic and social victimization of Muslims and other religious and social minorities, including Dalits.
The continued incarceration and persecution of 8 million unarmed and innocent Kashmiris in occupied Kashmir is a further manifestation of this blatantly extremist mindset posing a serious threat to regional security, he added.
The discriminatory steps and vicious propaganda by the RSS-BJP combine only further expose its real face and sinister agenda of transforming India into a “Hindu Rashtra”.
The spokesperson said that the world would hold India to account and expect it to fulfill its responsibilities under international law.