Islamabad: Pakistan has condemned as "regressive and discriminatory" India's Citizenship Amendment Bill and called it "malafide intent" by New Delhi to "interfere" in the affairs of neighbouring countries.
The Lok Sabha passed the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, which seeks to provide Indian citizenship to non-Muslim refugees coming from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan after facing religious persecution there, a little past midnight on Monday.
According to the proposed legislation, members of Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities, who have come from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan till December 31, 2014 and facing religious persecution there, will not be treated as illegal immigrants but given Indian citizenship.
Pakistan Foreign Office (FO) in a statement issued post mid-night said: "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 malafide intent".
It said that the law “is premised on a falsehood and is 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.”
"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 statement said.
Indian Home Minister Amit Shah while introducing the bill in Lok Sabha had made it clear that people belonging to any religion should not have any fear under Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government as he asserted that the bill will give relief to those minorities who have been living a painful life after facing persecution in neighbouring countries.
Shah also asserted that the bill has the "endorsement of 130 crore Indian citizens" and rejected suggestions that the measure is anti-Muslims, saying it will give rights to persecuted minorities from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. The FO, however, said the latest legislation by the Indian government was 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".
The law is driven by a toxic mix of an extremist "Hindutva ideology and hegemonic ambitions" in the region and is also a clear manifestation of interference in the internal matters of neighbouring countries based on religion, which Pakistan rejects completely, the FO said. "Equally reprehensible are India's pretentions of casting itself as homeland for minorities allegedly persecuted in the neighbouring countries," it said. The Foreign Office said India's action in Kashmir has affected 8 million people and it further displayed the government's policies.
The legislation has "exposed the hollowness of the claims to secularism and democracy. Pushed by the majoritarian agenda, it has revealed to the world the RSS-BJP exclusivist mentality and the true extent of their animus against the Muslims,” the statement said.