- India’s citizenship legislation violates all norms of international human rights law and bilateral agreements with Pakistan, says PM.
- Imran Khan added that the legislation is part of the RSS "Hindu Rashtra" design of expansionism.
Prime Minister Imran Khan slammed on Tuesday Narendra Modi-led Indian government after the Indian parliament's lower house passed a controversial bill to grant citizenship to religious minorities other than Muslims from neighbouring countries.
“We strongly condemn Indian Lok Sabha citizenship legislation which violates all norms of international human rights law and bilateral agreements with Pakistan,” said PM Imran Khan in a tweet. The prime minister added that the legislation is part of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) "Hindu Rashtra" design of expansionism propagated by the ‘fascist’ Modi government.
We strongly condemn Indian Lok Sabha citizenship legislation which violates all norms of int human rights law & bilateral agreements with Pak. It is part of the RSS "Hindu Rashtra" design of expansionism propagated by the fascist Modi Govt. https://t.co/XkRdBiSp3G
— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) 10 December 2019
Meanwhile, Pakistan Foreign Office calls the discriminatory legislation in a glaring attempt by New Delhi to interfere in the neighboring countries.
In a statement on Tuesday, Foreign Office Spokesperson Dr Muhammad Faisal said the latest legislation by Indian Lok Sabha that offers Indian nationality to the nationals of Pakistan and two other South Asian countries except Muslims is premised on a falsehood and is in complete violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international covenants on elimination of all forms of discrimination based on religion or belief.
The spokesperson added the latest legislation is another major step towards the realization of the concept of ‘Hindu Rashtra,’ idealized and relentlessly pursued by the right-wing Hindu leaders for several decades.
The Citizenship Amendment Bill provides that Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis, and Christians fleeing persecution in Muslim-majority Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan can be granted citizenship.
Modi's government had tried to bring in the contentious legislation during its first term but the bill could not pass the upper house where the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its allies lack a majority.
The bill seeks to amend the Citizenship Act of 1955, which prohibits illegal migrants from applying for Indian citizenship.
Under Modi, the Islamic-sounding names of several cities have been changed, while some school textbooks have been altered to downplay Muslims' contributions to India. In August, his administration rescinded the partial autonomy of occupied Jammu and Kashmir, India's only Muslim-majority state, and split it into two.
The Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) has been approved amid concerns from various politicians, human rights organizations and the Muslim communities and is seen as a violation to India's secular constitution.
When the bill was tabled in the lower house, legislatures from the opposition lodged a protest and criticized the Modi government of being biased over the matter.
On Monday, 100 scientists and scholars at institutions in India and abroad published a joint letter expressing their “dismay" at the legislation. They said that enshrined in India's constitution is the notion of treating all faiths equally.
But Modi's “proposed bill would mark a radical break with this history and would be inconsistent with the basic structure of the constitution".
The letter said such a careful exclusion of Muslims would “greatly strain" India's pluralism.
However, the government has defended the bill, saying it was only aimed at flushing out infiltrators and that Muslims did not face persecution in the three neighbouring countries.
“This bill is not even 0.001 per cent against minorities. It is against infiltrators," Home Minister Amit Shah claimed in parliament's lower house.