End its discriminatory approach towards Hindu, Sikh, Christians and other minorities in Pakistan, the Ministry of External Affairs asked Islamabad

India on Thursday strongly condemned attacks on religious minorities in Pakistan and asked Islamabad to end its discriminatory approach towards Hindu, Sikh, Christians and other minorities in Pakistan.

This came after a Sikh teacher Deena Kaur was forcibly abducted, converted to Islam and married off to her abductor in Peer Baba of Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province on August 20. According to media reports, it happened with the connivance of local administration and police.

“We have seen media reports on the kidnapping, forced conversion and marriage of Deena Kaur, a Sikh teacher from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan. It was also reported that police refused to file an FIR, following which the family and Sikh community members staged a protest,” Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said during a weekly press briefing on Thursday.

“This is shocking to see this level of religious intolerance in Pakistan. The apathy of law enforcement agencies towards religious minorities is of course part of that system and we see this yet another instance of religious persecution faced by the minority community in Pakistan,” Bagchi said.

He said India strongly condemned targeting of minorities, including Hindus, Sikhs and Christians in Pakistan.

“As you are aware there have been unfortunately similar incidents of targeted attacks on minorities in the recent past in Pakistan, including two Sikh traders in Peshawar in May, the killing of an 18-year-old Hindu girl for resisting abduction in Sukkur in March 2022 and brutal murder of Christian pastor in Peshawar in February. These instances reveal the atmosphere of insecurity faced by religious minorities in Pakistan,” the MEA Spokesperson said, while detailing attacks on minorities there.

“The Government of India has been raising such issues through diplomatic channels with the Government of Pakistan and we call upon Pakistan to end this discriminatory approach towards minorities and discharge its responsibilities to ensure the safety, security and well-being of all its citizens,” Bagchi said.

It is pertinent to mention here that Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has lately expressed his desire of maintaining cordial ties with India.

Responding to a question on this, Bagchi said that this is nothing new, “we too want good relations, India desires peaceful, friendly and cooperative relations with Pakistan, which requires an environment free from violence and terror. We want peaceful relations with our neighbours, but you know what are the problems with Pakistan and they should take steps to develop peaceful relations.”