Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, on Saturday, said he will “show” the Narendra Modi government “how to treat minorities”. PM Khan’s comments have sparked controversy, especially after veteran Bollywood actor Naseeruddin Shah’s commented on mob violence in India.
Addressing an event to highlight the 100-day achievements of the Punjab government in Lahore, Khan emphasised that his government is taking steps to ensure that religious minorities in Pakistan get their due rights, which was also a vision of the country’s founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah.
Khan said his government will ensure that minorities feel safe, and that they are protected and have equal rights in ‘New Pakistan’. “We will show the Modi government how to treat minorities…Even in India, people are saying that minorities are not being treated as equal citizens,” he said, as per an Indian Express report.
In a video interview with Karwan-e-Mohabbat India, Naseeruddin Shah said the death of a cow was being given importance over the lives of human beings. His comments came after gaurakshaks allegedly killed a policeman in Bulandshahr. Shah lamented that the “poison has already spread” and it will be now difficult to contain it.
“It will be very difficult to capture this djinn back into the bottle again. There is complete impunity for those who take law into their own hands…I feel anxious for my children because tomorrow if a mob surrounds them and asks, ‘Are you a Hindu or a Muslim?’ they will have no answer. It worries me that I don’t see the situation improving anytime soon,” Shah said.
Highlighting that people from minority communities face discrimination in India, Pakistan Prime Minister Khan, on Tuesday (December 25), said he will ensure that in his country minorities are treated as equal citizens “unlike what is happening in India”.
Quaid envisaged Pakistan as a democratic, just and compassionate nation. Most importantly he wanted our minorities to be equal citizens. It should be remembered that his early political career was as an ambassador for Hindu Muslim unity.— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) December 25, 2018
His struggle for a separate nation for Muslims only started when he realised that Muslims would not be treated as equal citizens by the Hindu majority. Naya Pak is Quaid’s Pak & we will ensure that our minorities are treated as equal citizens, unlike what is happening in India. https://t.co/xFPo8ahJnp— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) December 25, 2018
Khan’s comments did not go down well with Indians, and he was slammed by Naseeruddin Shah, Mohammad Kaif, and Asaduddin Owaisi, among others.
Asaduddin Owaisi slams PM Khan
While BJP national spokesperson Sambit Patra sharply criticized PM Khan and asked Pakistan to not teach humanity to India, AIMIM president Asaduddin Owaisi asked Khan sahab to learn something from India’s inclusive politics and minority rights.
According to the Pakistani Constitution, only a Muslim is qualified to be President. India has seen multiple Presidents from oppressed communities. It’s high time Khan sahab learns something from us about inclusive politics & minority rights.https://t.co/qarmZkqdhH— Asaduddin Owaisi (@asadowaisi) December 23, 2018
“Pakistan is ‘terroristan’”: BJP
The BJP, on Sunday, said Pakistan is ‘terroristan’ and it need not teach India anything. This came a day after its Khan said he would show the Narendra Modi government “how to treat minorities”.
Addressing a press conference, BJP national spokesperson Sambit Patra also said that Mr Khan can “surely teach Congress a lot. After all, the party considers the nation angelic”. “Pakistan is ‘terroristan’. It gave shelter to (Osama Bin) Laden. It need not teach us anything,” he said, PTI reported.
Vehemently denying allegations that intolerance was rising in the country, India’s Home Minister Rajnath Singh Sunday said there was no nation in the world as tolerant as India.
Singh, was attending the 114th foundation day of King George’s Medical University, Lucknow, told reporters: “The tolerance that exists in India, I don’t think that it can be found in any corner of the world.”
“India is the only country in the world where people from various prominent religions co-exist peacefully… They have contributed in making India empowered, self-reliant, and prosperous and will continue to do so,” he said further.
Naseeruddin Shah says Khan shouldn’t comment on issues that don’t bother him
Bollywood actor Naseeruddin Shah responded to Khan by saying that he shouldn’t be commenting on issues that don’t concern him.
“I think Mr Khan should be walking the talk in his own country instead of commenting on issues that don’t concern him. We have been a democracy for 70 years and we know how to look after ourselves,” Naseeruddin Shah told the Sunday Express.
Pakistan should be last country to talk about minorities: Mohammad Kaif
Former Indian cricketer Mohammad Kaif replied to Khan’s comments by taking to social media, saying that Pakistan should be the “last country” to lecture “any country on how to treat minorities.”
Kaif pointed out that since the time of Pakistan’s formation, the number of minorities living in the country has drastically reduced.
“There were around 20% minorities at the time of Partition in Pakistan, less than 2% remain now. On the other hand, minority population has grown significantly in India since Independence. Pakistan is the last country that should be lecturing any country on how to treat minorities,” Kaif said in a tweet.
Elton Gomes is a staff writer at Qrius
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