Imran Khan
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan says that the Indian Citizenship Amendment Bill is a violation of international rights law. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has strongly condemned the Indian Lok Sabha citizenship legislation and said that the bill violates all norms of international rights law and bilateral agreement with Pakistan.

In a tweet on Tuesday, Prime Minister Imran says: “It (the legislation) is part of the RSS ‘Hindu Rashtra’ design of expansionism propagated by the fascist Modi government.”

Imran tweet
Prime Minister Imran Khan tweeted on Tuesday to condemn Indian Citizenship Bill Image Credit: Social media

Imran’s criticism came after the controversial Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) was passed on Monday in the India’s lower house amid raucous debate. Opposition parties in the parliament stood against the proposed law that would, for the first time, create a legal pathway to grant Indian nationality on the basis of religion. The bill was originally introduced in 2016 during the Modi government’s first term but lapsed after protests and an alliance partner’s withdrawal. It proposes to grant Indian citizenship to non-Muslims who came to India from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan before 2015.

Pakistan’s Foreign Office also reacted strongly after the CAB was passed saying it was “driven by a toxic mix of an extremist Hindutva ideology”.

In a statement issued by the Foreign Office, Pakistan condemned the move and said it was 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”.

Pakistan Forign Office statement

The statement reads: “The Lok Sabha legislation is also in complete contravention of various bilateral agreements between Pakistan and India, particularly the one concerning security and rights of minorities in the respective countries.”

The latest legislation, the Pakistan Foreign Office says, is 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,” says the statement.

“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.

“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 mala fide intent,” said the statement.

Just after midnight, the CAB was comfortably passed in the lower house with 311 votes in favour and 80 against, reported AFP.

The bill now has to be approved by the upper house, where the ruling party does not have enough votes for passage. Any bill needs to be ratified by both houses of India’s parliament to become law.