Vaishakh Krushna 9, Kaliyug Varsha 5114
"It is the responsibility of the government of Pakistan to discharge its constitutional obligations towards its citizens, including those from the minority community," external affairs minister SM Krishna said in the Lok Sabha.
He was responding to the issue of treatment of minorities in Pakistan raised by BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi last week.
Krishna said India had taken up "appropriately" with the Pakistani authorities the issue of abduction, forceful marriage and conversion to Islam of three Hindu girls in Sindh province of Pakistan.
"The government of Pakistan stated that it was fully cognisant of the situation and looked after the welfare of all its citizens, particularly the minority community," he said.
Krishna also referred to press release issued by the government of Pakistan stating that the Pakistan President had taken serious note of the reports of kidnapping of a Hindu girl from Mirpur Mathelo in Sindh and allegedly being forced by some influential people of the area to convert.
The release had said the Pakistan President had called for a report from the provincial government.
"The President also called for transparent and expeditious investigations in the matter and to take action in accordance with the law regardless of the influence and status of anyone involved in criminal activity," Krishna said quoting the Pakistan government release.
Krishna said several Members of Parliament, NGOs and civil society in Pakistan have also expressed grave concern over the incidents and called for implementation of laws to protect the rights of minorities in that country.
He said India hoped Government of Pakistan will discharge its constitutional duties towards its minority communities, in view of the purely humanitarian nature of this issue.
He also appealed to the people and Government of Pakistan to take all possible steps to protect the constitutional rights of their minorities by ensuring their safety, security and well being.
In the past, we have also seen of reports of kidnapping and killing of members of the minority communities and desecration/encroachment of their places of religious worship in Pakistan, he said.
Krishna pointed out that the Simla Agreement of 1972 between India and Pakistan specifically provides for non-interference in each other's internal affairs.
"...nevertheless, based on reports of persecution of minority groups in Pakistan, Government has taken up the matter with the Government of Pakistan in the past," he said.
Krishna said in November 2011, on the killing of three Hindu doctors in Sindh, the President of Pakistan had called for a report on the incident and directed immediate arrest of the people responsible for the killings.
He had also said that it was the moral and legal responsibility of the government to protect members of the minority community against vandalism and atrocities.
"In August 2011, while speaking on the occasion of the 'Minorities' Day' in Pakistan, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said, 'Unfortunately some extremist elements with a view to advancing their own narrow and bigoted agendas have targeted the minorities'," Krishna said.
"The Government, however, stands fully committed to foil the designs of these extremist elements. The perpetrators of the crime against the minority community anywhere in Pakistan must be brought to justice and they will be," Krishna said quoting Gilani.
Source : HT