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India, Pakistan engage in heated debate at UNGA over minority rights

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Islamabad, Jan 25, 2021 –
Pakistan and India engaged in a heated debate, filled with accusations against each other, over deteriorating minority rights in each other’s countries at the UN General Assembly (UNGA).

The accusations erupted when a resolution, co-sponsored by Pakistan, was presented in the UNGA, condemning damage and destruction to religious sites.

Pakistan’s contention on the resolution was with reference to the demolition of the Babri Masjid in India.

India’s assertion against Pakistan on burning down of a Hindu shrine in Khyber Pukhtunkhwa’s Karak district, Islamabad termed it “unwarranted assertions”, stating that “India should set its own house in order rather than feigning concerns for minority rights elsewhere”.

“This is not the first time India has tried to feign concern for minority rights elsewhere while being the most egregious and persistent violator of minority rights itself,” said Zulqarnain Cheema, the Pakistani delegate at the UNGA.

On the other hand, India’s representative raised serious questions over Islamabad being the co-sponsor of the resolution.

“It was ironic that Pakistan was one of the co-sponsors of the resolution. The attack on the Karak shrine was carried out with the explicit support of law enforcement agencies,” said the Indian representative.

“The resolution cannot be smokescreen or countries like Pakistan to hide behind,” he added.

The Pakistani delegate responded by stating that “the clear difference between India and Pakistan with respect to minority rights can be gauged from the fact that the accused in Karak incident were immediately arrested, orders were issued for repairing of temple, the highest level of judiciary took immediate notice, and senior political leadership condemned the incident”.

“Whereas in India, blatant acts of discrimination against Muslims and other minorities takes place with state complicity,” he said.

The Pakistani representative highlighted the “the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), the National Register of Citizens (NRC), the 2002 Gujarat massacre, the 2020 Delhi progrom, blaming the Muslims for spreading the coronavirus, raising the bogey of love jihad, cow vigilantism and terming West Bengal Muslims termites, extra judicial killings of innocent Kashmiris and blatant attempts to turn Muslims into a minority in occupied Kashmir”, adding that “the RSS-BJP regime’s record is replete with instances of gross and systematic violations of the rights of minorities, in particular Muslims”.

“As a perennial of state-sponsored discrimination against its minorities, India is in no position to pontificate on the issue of minority rights elsewhere,” he added.

Islamabad’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Munir Akram expressed satisfaction over the adoption of resolution at the UNGA, stating “Pakistan will continue to play a leading role in denouncing violent attacks on religious sites”.

“I am happy that the UN General Assembly today adopted by consensus a resolution � sponsored by & other OIC countries � on the protection of religious sites. Pakistan will continue to play a leading role in denouncing violent attacks on religious sites,” Akram tweeted.

The resolution was proposed by Saudi Arabia and co-sponsored by countries including Iraq, Jordan, Egypt, Yemen, Bahrain, Sudan, Oman, United Arab Emirates, Palestine, Bangladesh, Central African Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Mauritania, Morocco, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines and Venezuela. (Agency)

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