ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday strongly condemned the passing of Citizenship Amendment Bill by Indian LokSabha, saying the legislation was a violation of international human rights law and bilateral agreements with Pakistan.
“It is part of the RSS Hindu Rashtra design of expansionism propagated by the fascist Modi government,” the prime minister wrote in a tweet, coinciding with his message on International Human Rights Day.
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.
On situation in Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir, the prime minister said “we must appeal to the world’s conscience, to upholders of international law and to the UNSC to act against the illegal annexation of IOJK”.
“We condemn the occupying Indian government’s siege of IOJ&K ongoing for over four months now and demand an end to the gross abuse and atrocities being inflicted on Kashmiri men, women and children by Indian occupation forces in violation of all international humanitarian and human rights laws,” he said.
Imran Khan said, “We salute and stand resolutely with the brave Kashmiris struggling for their right to self-determination.”
Earlier, the Foreign Office in a statement termed India’s Citizenship Amendment Bill “another major step towards the realisation of the concept of ‘Hindu Rashtra’, idealised and relentlessly pursued by the right-wing Hindu leaders for several decades.”
“It is driven by a toxic mix of an extremist ‘Hindutva’ ideology and hegemonic ambitions in the region. It is also a clear manifestation of interference in the internal matters of neighbouring countries based on religion, which we reject completely,” added the statement.
“Equally reprehensible are India’s pretensions of casting itself as a homeland for minorities allegedly persecuted in the neighbouring countries.
The massacre of thousands of Muslims in Gujarat, the Samjhauta Express carnage, innumerablelynchings by cow-vigilantes, repugnant schemes like Gharwapsi and ‘Love Jihad’, and violence against Christians, Sikhs, Jains and even low-caste Dalits are the hallmarks of the new India ruled by the proponents of the extremist Hindu ideology.
The FO statement said the continuing persecution of eight million unarmed and innocent Kashmiris, collectively incarcerated and penalised by 900,000 Indian occupation forces, goes to further illustrate this blatantly extremist mindset.
This Indian legislation has also, once again, exposed the hollowness of the claims to ‘secularism’ and ‘democracy.
“We condemn the legislation as regressive and discriminatory, which is in violation of all relevant international conventions and norms and a glaring attempt by India to interfere in the neighbouring countries with malafide intent,” said the statement.
Earlier, Prime Minister Imran Khan Monday said the vision of Naya Pakistan could not be accomplished unless the people fully take part in the government’s ongoing “jihad” against corruption by exposing the corrupt elements in the society.
Addressing a launching ceremony of “Report Corruption” mobile application introduced by Punjab’s Anti-Corruption Establishment, he said the elimination of corruption was inevitable to protect the future of the generation.
Punjab Chief Minister SardarUsmanBuzdar, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Accountability Shahzad Akbar, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Information DrFirdousAshiqAwan and other cabinet members also attended the event which marked the launching of the mobile application after the prime minister formally pushed the button.
“This is a great step towards making Pakistan a modern society. This is an impressive performance and request you to publicize to make people know the benefit of this drive,” the prime minister said while appreciating the idea of the mobile application as well as the recovery of government land worth Rs132 billion, besides another amount of Rs5 billion from corrupt people by the Punjab Anti Corruption.
He said unfortunately, the people did not know the connection between corruption and their lives and in some instances, people were also seen showering flower petals on the corrupt people out of their ignorance.
He said the youth of the country could play a leading role in the anti-corruption drive with their active participation.
The prime minister also advised the Punjab government to publicize the performance of the mobile application on monthly basis.
He said the Chinese economy was considered as the fastest growing economy just because the Chinese people as well as the government had arose against the corrupt people and above 400 minister level people were jailed on corruption charges.
He said the Chinese people considered President Xi Jinping as a real statesman because they had realized that corruption was the major reason to beget poverty.
Referring to the anti-corruption movements in Chili, Iraq and other states, the prime minister said it was a changed world where no one could conceal the corruption.
In the United States, the people were caught on the charges of corruption, they had committed even three decades ago, he added.
They had a popular maxim ‘you can run but cannot hide’, he added.
He said despite being rich with huge natural resources, the corrupt nations remained poor while clean governments with no corruption became richer despite having a little resources and cited examples of Nigeria and Congo and that of Switzerland.
He explained that the money made through corrupt practices always landed in the individuals’ accounts instead of being spent on the welfare projects like education and health sectors to steer people out of poverty.
He said the land retrieved by the Punjab government could be used for the welfare projects like the construction of low-cost housing for those who could not afford building their own houses.
The corrupt people laundered the looted money abroad in dollars which impacted the local currency and led to reduction of national resources, he said.
He said the corrupt societies could never attract the investment and added the overseas Pakistanis were eyeing to invest their capital in their homeland once the government eliminated the social evil.
In order to eliminate the minted money, the previous government executed development projects unnecessarily like the Metro Bus Service in Multan which had been resisted even by the people there.
He said the situation could not be changed unless the people considered the corrupt elements as their enemy.
Punjab Chief Minister UsmanBuzdar said the launch of the mobile application by Punjab government was a remarkable achievement against corruption which would enable the people report corruption through their mobile phones.
He told the gathering that the provincial government had recovered land valuing Rs 132 billion from illegal occupation besides another amount of Rs4.75 billion from the corrupt people.
He urged the people to move forward to report corruption through the new facility to contribute the purgation of the society of corruption. The government was committed neither to make any corruption nor let anyone else to do so, he resolved.
Shahzad Akbar said during one and half years of the provincial PTI government, around Rs132 billion had been recovered.
He said after launching the mobile application, the provincial government had targeted to digitalize the whole anti-corruption department.
After launching the mobile application, the accountability system was now in people’s hand who could also file complaints anonymously which would promote the concept of the whistleblower.
The Punjab anti corruption director general also gave a briefing about the performance of the provincial corruption watchdog.
He said during the last 16 months, they received a total of 31,746 complaints and held 6,883 inquires into these cases. A total of Rs1,798.82 million recoveries were made besides, land worth Rs12,738.95 million had been retrieved from the illegal occupation.
He urged the people to fully utilize the facility by lodging complaints against the corrupt elements and officials.
Agencies add: About 600 Artistes, Writers, Academicians, Ex-judges and Former Bureaucrats have asked the government to withdraw the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, terming it as “discriminatory, divisive”, and violative of the secular principles enshrined in the Constitution. In an open letter, they asserted that the legislation will fundamentally alter the character of the Indian Republic and threatens the federal framework provided by the Constitution.
The signatories include historian Romila Thapar, author Amitav Ghosh, actor Nandita Das, filmmakers Aparna Sen and Anand Patwardhan, activists Yogendra Yadav, Teesta Setalvad, Harsh Mander, Aruna Roy and Bezwada Wilson, former Delhi high court Chief Justice AP Shah and the country’s first CIC Wajahat Habibullah among others.
“All of us from the cultural and academic communities condemn this bill as divisive, discriminatory and unconstitutional. It will, along with a nationwide NRC, bring untold suffering to people across the country. It will damage, fundamentally and irreparably, the nature of the Indian republic.
This is why we demand that the government withdraw the bill. “This is why we demand that the government not betray the Constitution. We call on all people of conscience to insist that the Constitutional commitment to an equal and secular citizenry be honoured,” the letter states.
Meanwhile, Normal life was badly affected across the Northeast on Tuesday due to the shutdown and agitations organised by various tribal parties and youth organisations including the North East Students’ Organisation (NESO), to protest against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill (CAB).
The Bill was passed in the Lok Sabha after division of votes with 311 in its favour and 80 against it, following a marathon debate which continued till 12.06 a.m. on Tuesday after beginning at about 4 p.m. the previous day.
Meanwhile, Internet services have been suspended in Tripura for 48 hours from 2 pm on Tuesday in view of the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Bill, an official notification said.
The step has been taken to prevent mischief mongers from spreading rumours.
Road and rail traffic were badly affected and thousands of passengers were stranded in Tripura as the picketers did not allow the plying of vehicles and trains.
Police spokesman Subrata Chakraborty said that no major untoward incident was reported from anywhere in the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTAADC) areas, which has jurisdiction over two-thirds of the state’s 10,491 sq km area, and home to over 12 lakh people, mostly tribals.
“Shutdown was observed by the tribal based parties in the TTAADC areas while the picketers held road blockades and demonstrations outside of it. Police either evicted the picketers or detained them for blocking the roads and holding protests in important locations in different parts of Tripuar,” Chakraborty told IANS.
An unprecedented contingent of security forces including the central para-military and Tripura State Rifles (TSR) were deployed to deal with the situation.
Senior police officials in Agartala quoting reports from the various districts said that government offices, banks, educational institutions, shops and markets were closed in most places under the TTAADC areas.
The Education Department, Tripura Board of Secondary Education and the two universities – Tripura University and Maharaja Bir Bikram University – postponed their examinations due to the strike.
The Joint Movement Against Citizenship Amendment Bill (JMACAB), a conglomeration of many tribal local and regional parties, NGOs and student and youth organisations of Tripura, including Indigenous Nationalist Party of Tripura (INPT) has called for an indefinite strike across the state against the CAB.
The NESO, an apex body of eight students and youth outfits, has also called for a 10-hour shutdown on Tuesday in the entire region, comprising all the seven states.
In Mizoram, the 10-hour long has shutdown crippled normal.
Government offices, banks, educational institutions, shops and markets were closed in the Mizo National Front (MNF) ruled state.
All kinds of vehicles except those of the security forces remained off the roads.
According to the police, the NESO and the NGO Coordination Committee leaders are organising picketing in the district headquarters of Aizawl, Kolasib, Lunglei and Serchhip.
“The shutdown was peaceful in all the 11 districts of Mizoram,” a police official said in Aizawl.