Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Sunday said that he “wished” that the Indian government would take the responsibility of protecting Muslims in occupied Kashmir whose businesses and lives are no longer safe.
In a press talk in Karachi, Qureshi said: “We want to assure every community in Pakistan, whether Hindu, Sikh or Christian that protection of your lives and property is the government’s responsibility.
“We want to give a clear message that this is our belief and want to tell the world that we wish that these principles were also being observed in occupied Kashmir, where the sanctity of our daughters is not safe. Where the businesses of Muslims have been halted for the past 28 days. Where young men are being picked up [by Indian forces] and tortured; where innocent and unarmed people are being targeted for revenge.”
He added: “This is the belief of a country that believed in democratic principles. [This is] the reflection of a country that now has a fascist mindset. “This is a comparative analysis that I want to present before the world.”
Qureshi was addressing the ongoing tensions in Indian-occupied Kashmir, that have been high since New Delhi stripped the region of its special status last month. The Indian government had imposed a strict lockdown and communications blackout in occupied Kashmir just before it repealed Article 370 of the constitution on August 5. Extra troops were posted in the region, which is already heavily militarised, and Kashmiri leaders were placed under house arrest.
The lockdown and communications blackout is still in place after four weeks.
The foreign minister, in his conversation with reporters, said that Prime Minister Imran Khan had lived up to his promise to act as the “ambassador” of the Kashmiri people and highlighted their plight while addressing the 56th Convention of the Islamic Society of North America that was held on Sunday.
A day earlier, while addressing members of the Hindu community at Shiv Temple in Umerkot, Qureshi had said the gathering of non-Muslims in solidarity with their Kashmiri brethren drew a stark contrast with the dystopian vision of the Modi government.
“This public gathering is not political in nature but it has given a clear message to the fascist Modi government that Hindus and other non-Muslims of Pakistan express solidarity with the Kashmiris,” Qureshi had said while rejecting the media reports that Pakistan was trying to negotiate with India.