Pakistan has expressed deep concerns over the contentious Indian citizenship legislation, Foreign Office Spokesperson Dr Faisal said that act of India is driven by a toxic mix of extremist Hindutva ideology.
He was addressing his weekly briefing in Islamabad. He said that Pakistan and other regional countries have condemned the citizenship bill passed in Indian Parliament, is clear violation of human rights.
He said this act of India is driven by a toxic mix of extremist Hindutva ideology and hegemonic ambitions in the region. He noted that voices are also being raised within and outside India against the discriminatory legislation.
He also said that Pakistan has expressed the desire for an early holding of SAARC Summit to promote regional cooperation.
Foreign Office Spokesperson Dr Muhammad Faisal said all the other South Asian countries except one have also expressed the desire of early happening of the summit.
He said the 19th SAARC summit will be held in Islamabad and it is to be seen whether India wants to move forward on SAARC.
Voicing concerns over the situation in occupied Kashmir, Dr Muhammad Faisal said the humanitarian nightmare is worsening in the valley with continued military lockdown and complete communications blackout. This, he said, is affecting the life and property of millions of Kashmiri people who have been cut off from the rest of the world.
Dr Muhammad Faisal said India should immediately restore internet and mobile phone services, release all the prisoners and remove all the draconian laws. He said India should allow international media and human rights observers to visit Occupied Kashmir to independently observe the situation there.
Responding to a question, the spokesperson said Pakistan has welcomed the resumption of direct talks between the United States and the Afghan Taliban.
He said Pakistan has always held that there is no military solution to the conflict in Afghanistan. We hope the peace process is concluded soon and leads to an intra-afghan dialogue and reduction of violence in Afghanistan. He said Pakistan will continue to support all peaceful efforts there.
He however said it is important to remain watchful of the role of spoilers who do not want to see an end to the conflict in Afghanistan.
The spokesperson strongly denounced the assassination of Japanese physician and devoted aid worker Tetsu Nakamura in Afghanistan. He said Nakamura changed the lives of thousands of Afghan people and his work has been recognized internationally.
He said we share the grief and pain of the Afghan and Japanese people in this tragic incident. He said at this critical juncture, it can only be the work of spoilers who do not want to see a peaceful and stable Afghanistan.
When asked about Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi’s visit to Saudi Arabia, the spokesperson said it was a scheduled visit and focused on bilateral matters and regional developments.
He said Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have brotherly relations deep rooted in history and based on mutual trust and understanding.
It is pertinent to mention that the Citizenship Amendment Bill, passed with a thumping majority in both the Lower and Upper Houses of the Indian Parliament, seeks to grant Indian nationality to non-Muslims from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh who migrated to India on or before 31st December 2015.
It still needs to be formally approved by the president but that is widely perceived as a formality.
Opponents have vowed to take the matter to the Supreme Court, arguing that it goes against the secularism enshrined in India’s constitution, as it makes religion a requirement for citizenship.