Multan, December 29: Foreign Minister, Shah Mehmood Qureshi has said that the Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi’s controversial anti-Muslim citizenship law has split India into “two schools of thought” and exposed the Indian government’s “Hindutva” mindset.
The Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019, passed by the Indian parliament on December 11, offers citizenship to refugees of several faiths including, Hinduism, Sikhism and Buddhism but does not grant the same to Muslims.
The statute, deemed “fundamentally discriminatory” by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, has triggered widespread protests in India, of which Qureshi took note in his press conference in Multan, today.
“There are protests all over India because of the Citizenship Amendment Act. India is completely divided over the move. It is split into two schools of thoughts,” he said.
“The entire country is out on the streets protesting against the law. Twenty-five people have been killed in protests so far,” the foreign minister detailed.
Qureshi said that the Indian authorities’ internet blackout in India’s northern states “has unmasked [Indian Prime Minister Narendra] Modi’s Hindutva thinking”.
He said that Muslims, Hindu and Sikhs have all been protesting against the controversial law, noting that even the chief ministers of several states, including Assam and Madhya Pradesh, have been leading the rallies.
‘India’s global image stands tarnished’
The foreign minister said that the world has also taken notice of the issue.
“The international media has been publishing scathing editorials over what is happening in India,” he said, adding that “India’s image has been tarnished all over the world.”
Qureshi also addressed the situation in occupied Kashmir, which has been under a lockdown for nearly five months. He said that Islamabad has asked newly appointed Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud to have the issue of occupied Kashmir discussed at Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).
“The Saudi foreign minister has assured us that he will raise the issue at the forum,” he added.
‘No dialogue until situation in occupied Kashmir is resolved’
Qureshi dismissed the possibility of any dialogue with India until the issue in occupied Kashmir is resolved.
“Due to the situation in occupied Kashmir, Islamabad is not mentally ready to sit down with New Delhi,” Qureshi said.
The foreign minister further said that Islamabad had written a letter to the United Nations (UN) over India’s military maneuvers in occupied Kashmir on December 12. “The letter states how India can affect peace in the region. On the basis of our letter, China has requested that military observers brief the UN about the situation in Kashmir.”
“The world should know what India is capable of,” he asserted. “We are aware of our responsibilities and are doing what we can on diplomatic and political fronts.”
Qureshi again urged the human rights bodies to take notice of the issue in occupied Kashmir. “The issue of Kashmir has taken such a turn for worse that we need an OIC session of the foreign ministers. We are trying to have the session as soon as possible,” he said.
He also said that Pakistan has good relations with all the Muslim countries in the world and that “we will continue to make sure there are no issues between the Muslim countries.”