Calling Pakistan “a serial violator of minority rights”, India’s foreign ministry today slammed the neighbour in a strongly worded response to its Prime Minister’s recent comments. Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif had yesterday condemned recent remarks made by BJP leaders on Prophet Muhammad.
“I condemn in strongest possible words hurtful comments of India’s BJP leader about our beloved Prophet (PBUH). Have said it repeatedly India under Modi is trampling religious freedoms & persecuting Muslims. World should take note & severely reprimand India. Our love for the Holy Prophet (PBUH) is supreme. All Muslims can sacrifice their life for the Love & Respect of their Holy Prophet (PBUH),” he had tweeted.
I condemn in strongest possible words hurtful comments of India’s BJP leader about our beloved Prophet (PBUH). Have said it repeatedly India under Modi is trampling religious freedoms & persecuting Muslims. World should take note & severely reprimand India. Our love for the >
— Shehbaz Sharif (@CMShehbaz) June 5, 2022
Responding to media queries, the Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Arindam Bagchi called out the “irony” in Pakistan condemning the treatment of minorities.
“The absurdity of a serial violator of minority rights commenting on the treatment of minorities in another nation is not lost on anyone. The world has been witness to the systemic persecution of minorities including Hindus, Sikhs, Christians and Ahmadiyyas by Pakistan,” he said.
Our response to media queries regarding tweet by the Pakistani Prime Minister and statement by its Ministry of Foreign Affairs:https://t.co/bTcrX0WH4Xpic.twitter.com/IfR4YdFnsO
— Arindam Bagchi (@MEAIndia) June 6, 2022
Stating that the Government of India accords the “highest respect” to all religions, he said that in Pakistan, “fanatics are eulogized and monuments built in their honour”.
He further called on Pakistan to focus on the safety, security, and well-being of its minority communities “instead of engaging in alarmist propaganda and attempting to foment communal disharmony in India.”
This comes as India is firefighting the diplomatic backlash of two BJP leaders making controversial statements about the Prophet.
Gulf countries including Saudi Arabia have condemned the remarks made by two BJP leaders who have since been suspended.
Saudi Arabia described BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma’s comments as “insulting” and called for “respect for beliefs and religions”, according to a foreign ministry statement.
Riyadh is the latest to condemn the remarks. Qatar, Kuwait and Iran summoned the Indian envoy on Sunday amid widespread calls on social media for a boycott of Indian goods in the Gulf.
The Indian envoy in Doha was summoned to the foreign ministry and handed an official protest letter which said “Qatar is expecting a public apology and immediate condemnation of these remarks from the government of India”. Qatar’s condemnation came amid Vice President Venkaiah Naidu’s high-profile tour of the wealthy Gulf state along with Indian business leaders to boost trade.
India has said that the remarks were “views of fringe elements” and did not reflect the government’s opinion. The government also highlighted that the ruling BJP had taken action against the leaders — one of whom was the party’s national spokesperson and the other its media chief. The decision was welcomed by Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.