Saturday December 15, 2018
Home India Modi backs &#...

Modi backs ‘freedom’ in Balochistan, Pakistani Kashmir

In a first for any Prime Minister, Modi referred to Pakistani human rights abuses in both Balochistan and the part of Kashmir it controls

0
//
Source: sify.com
Republish
Reprint

New Delhi, August 15: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday, August 15 openly came out in support of “freedom” for Balochistan and “Pakistan-occupied Kashmir” and said India will never tolerate terrorism.

In his over 90-minute Independence Day speech from the ramparts of the Red Fort, the Prime Minister also stressed that his government’s main aim was to empower the common Indian.

Follow Newsgram on Facebook

In a first for any Prime Minister, Modi referred to Pakistani human rights abuses in both Balochistan and the part of Kashmir it controls.

“The world is watching. People of Balochistan, Gilgit, Baltistan and occupied Kashmir have thanked me a lot in the past few days. I am grateful to them,” Modi said, referring to his comments last week on excesses in Pakistan’s largest province and in the Pakistani part of Kashmir.

He said the way people from these Pakistani regions “wished me well, gives me great joy”.

In thanking an Indian Prime Minister, “they have thanked the whole population of my country”, he said. “I want to offer my gratitude to these people.”

Follow Newsgram on Twitter

Modi had said at a meeting on Kashmir last week that it was time for Islamabad to explain to the world “why it has been committing atrocities on people in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and Balochistan”.

On Monday, Modi also hit out at Pakistan for supporting terrorism. This, he said, was in contrast to the way Indians reacted with sorrow when terrorists slaughtered school children in Peshawar.

“That is the nature of India. But on the other hand, look at those who glorify terrorists. What kind of people glorify terrorists? What kind of people celebrate when people are killed?”

Follow Newsgram on Facebook

Modi’s third speech from the Red Fort came amid continuing violence in the Kashmir Valley that has left 56 people dead in five weeks of street unrest.

Modi avoided any reference to Kashmir but warned those disturbing “unity in the country”.

“All those who are killing innocents … I want to tell them that this country will not tolerate terrorism and militancy. Return to the mainstream. The road of militancy and terrorism does not help anyone.”

Modi said his governance objective was to deliver the fruits of economic development to the last Indian.

He said he was promoting transparency in governance and listed measures the NDA government had taken over the past two years to make life easier for ordinary people.

He explained how certain shortcomings were hindering India’s progress. He urged people to fight against such practices and strengthen social harmony for an overall development of the country.

Follow Newsgram on Twitter

“Every citizen should fight against the differences in the society on the basis of caste and class. Only economic development will not help in the development because without social harmony and unity, the development will not be complete.

“We have to take everyone together be it Dalits, tribals, oppressed and people from the financially weaker section of the society.”

The Prime Minister said in India there “are a lot of problems but we also have 1.25 billion people to solve them”.(IANS)

ALSO READ:

Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2016 NewsGram

Next Story

Pakistan Reacts Sharply To U.S. Religious Freedom Charges

China, Eritrea, Iran, Myanmar, North Korea, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan are also included in the U.S. list of countries accused

0
Pakistan
A Pakistani nun holds a candle during a vigil for victims of a deadly suicide bombing in a park, March 28, 2016, in Lahore. VOA

Pakistan is denouncing a U.S. decision to place it on a list of countries Washington says are the worst offenders of religious freedom.

“Pakistan does not need counsel by any individual country how to protect the rights of its minorities… there are serious questions on the credentials and impartiality of the self proclaimed jury involved in this unwarranted exercise,” the Foreign Ministry said Wednesday in a strongly-worded statement.

The reaction comes a day after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced his designation of “countries of particular concern” that allegedly have engaged in or tolerated ”systematic, ongoing, and egregious violations of religious freedom.”

Freedom Violations

The countries on the blacklist are exposed to punitive sanctions, but Pompeo waived them for Pakistan, citing U.S. national interests.

Pakistan had until now been on a U.S. watch list for governments that have “engaged in or tolerated” severe violations of religious freedom.

Pakistan
Pakistani volunteers collect debris from an Ahmadi mosque demolished by an angry mob, in the eastern city of Sialkot. VOA

While rebuking Tuesday’s U.S. pronouncement as “unilateral and politically motivated,” the Pakistani Foreign Ministry noted Pakistan is “a multi-religious and pluralistic society” of more than 200 million people, mostly Muslims.

“Around four percent of our total population comprises citizens belonging to Christian, Hindu, Buddhists and Sikh faiths. Ensuring equal treatment of minorities and their enjoyment of human rights without any discrimination is the cardinal principle of the Constitution of Pakistan,” it said.

Ahmadis most persecuted community

The statement did not mention the Ahmadi sect, which critics say is the most persecuted minority in Pakistan. The constitution bars the community from “posing as Muslims” and from calling their worship places “mosques.”

U.S. Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom Sam Brownback while defending downgrading of Pakistan reiterated Tuesday the challenges facing the Ahmadi community.

USA, Pakistan
Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom Sam Brownback, speaks to reporters at the State Department in Washington. VOA

“The Pakistani government criminalizes the identification of Ahmadis as Muslims, and then also — and this one has really been difficult and troubling for a lot of people — the government often fails to hold accountable perpetrators of killings and violence against members of religious minorities targeted on account of their religious beliefs or affiliations,” said Brownback.

Blasphemy laws

He cited, among other things, Pakistan’s blasphemy laws as a cause for the downgrade of the country’s religious freedom ranking. The laws prescribe the death penalty for those found guilty.

Rights groups have long complained Islamist groups misuse the law to intimidate minorities in the country.

Insulting Islam or its prophet is an extremely sensitive issue in Pakistan where mere allegations have led to mob lynchings. A former provincial governor, a federal minister, judges and lawyers are among those assassinated in Pakistan by extremists merely for calling for reform of the blasphemy laws to prevent their misuse or for hearing cases and defending alleged blasphemers.

Asia Bibi

In a historic judgement this past October, Pakistan’s Supreme Court acquitted a Christian woman, Asia Bibi, who had been on death row for eight years after being convicted of insulting the Prophet Mohammad. The women denied the charges from the outset as an outcome of a local feud and the country’s highest court cited lack of evidence in overturning her conviction by a lower court.

Pakistan
Radical Islamists rally to condemn a Supreme Court decision that acquitted Asia Bibi, a Christian woman, who spent eight years on death row accused of blasphemy, in Karachi, Pakistan. VOA

Bibi and her family have been in hiding since her release. Her lawyer fled Pakistan shortly after the landmark court ruling announced on October 31, saying his life was in danger.

Bibi is awaiting a rehearing of her case by the Supreme Court and is residing in a safe place under government protection, say Pakistani officials.

Pakistan also arrested hundreds of Islamist activists and their leaders last month for staging days of mass violent protests to denounce the court for freeing Bibi.

Also Read: Muslims in Malaysia Rally In Kuala Lumpur To Keep Status

The government has charged the detainees with treason and terrorism and officials have vowed to put them on trial in special courts.

“It’s our hope that they will, the new leadership in Pakistan, will work to improve the situation. There was some encouraging signs seen recently on how they’ve handled some of the recent protesting against the blasphemy laws, and we continue to watch very carefully what’s happening to Asia Bibi,” said Brownback.

China, Eritrea, Iran, Myanmar, North Korea, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan are also included in the U.S. list of countries accused of committing severe violations of religious freedom. (VOA)