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". Prime minister Khan on Thursday criticised the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill as a manifestation of India under Prime Minister Narendra Modi going ahead with the "Hindu supremacist agenda". India on Thursday lambasted Pakistan 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. "I am not going to respond to every unwarranted and gratuitous comment 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 to be 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
On Tuesday, ahead of Home Minister Amit Shah tabling the Citizenship Amendment Bill in the Lok Sabha, Imran Khan had claimed that the Indian Citizenship legislation violated all norms of international human rights & bilateral agreements. He also alleged that it was BJP's design to create a 'Hindu Rashtra' in India. He had alleged such similar sentiments on the revocation of article 370, often fearmongering over the ground condition in Kashmir. He had also nominated himself as the ambassador of the Indian state - Jammu & Kashmir claiming that he will fight the case for freedom of Kashmir till the very end.
(With PTI inputs)