New Delhi: Assam BJP minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Tuesday hit out at Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan for his criticism of India over the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, which was passed in the Lok Sabha on Monday, saying that the neighbour should look inwards and change itself from an islamic country to secular one.
Asking Pakistan to stay out of India's internal matter, Sarma said, "Before advising Indian parliament or commenting on Hindu Rastra, Excellency, will you please change Pakistan from a Islamic Republic to a Secular Republic? If you can not then please do not waste your time with the internal matter of India like."
Before advising Indian parliament or commenting on Hindu Rastra, Excellency,will you please change Pakistan from a Islamic Republic to a Secular Republic? If you can not then please do not waste your time with the internal matter of India like #CitizenshipAmendmentBill2019 https://t.co/5wU24pqQkA— Himanta Biswa Sarma (@himantabiswa) 10 December 2019
Pakistan on Tuesday said India's "regressive and discriminatory" Citizenship (Amendment) Bill reflects its "malafide intent" to interfere in the affairs of neighbouring countries based on religion, with Prime Minister Imran Khan describing the proposed legislation as a "design of expansionism".
"We strongly condemn Indian Lok Sabha citizenship legislation which violates all norms of int human rights law & bilateral agreements with Pak. It is part of the RSS "Hindu Rashtra" design of expansionism propagated by the fascist Modi Govt," Khan wrote on Twitter.
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 facing religious persecution there, will not be treated as illegal immigrants but given Indian citizenship.
The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill or CAB was passed in the Lok Sabha with 311 members favouring it and 80 voting against it a little past midnight on Monday. It will now be tabled in the Rajya Sabha for its nod.
Earlier, the Foreign Office (FO) in a statement 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.
In New Delhi, the Ministry of External Affairs said the Bill provides expedited consideration for Indian citizenship to persecuted religious minorities already in India from certain contiguous countries.
"It seeks to address their current difficulties and meet their basic human rights. Such an initiative should be welcomed, not criticised by those who are genuinely committed to religious freedom," it said.
"The CAB does not affect the existing avenues available to all communities interested in seeking citizenship from doing so. The recent record of granting such citizenship would bear out the Government of India's objectivity on the matter," it added.
With PTI inputs