In a stern letter to Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, 51 members of the European Parliament, have expressed concern and sought and assurance from him that alleged persecution of religious minorities must stop immediately.
The letter, in fact, threatens Pakistan that if immediate steps are not taken to dismantle the bodies, which are targeting minorities, the European Commission would be compelled to suspend all subsidies and trade preferences given to Pakistan.
India is seeing this move in a positive light as the government is doing all it can to alienate Pakistan internationally. “It’s a good move specially because the letter also talks about forcible conversion of Hindus. India also has been raising this issue for a long time now,” a senior government official told NDTV.
The letter points out that women from minority groups are particularly vulnerable to abuse. “A report by the Movement for Solidarity and Peace in Pakistan found that at least 1000 girls belonging to Christian and Hindu communities, often minors, are kidnapped and forced to marry Muslim men every year,” said the letter sent to Pakistan PM on April 30.
But what is important for India is the fact that the European Parliament now has acknowledged the growing influence of religious extremist groups, often with the support of the Pakistan government.
Recently India had sent a note verbale to Pakistan Foreign Office, after reports that two minor Hindu girls were abducted, forcibly converted to Islam and married off to Muslim men.
The letter further highlighted that today’s Pakistan is far removed from being the country that its founding father, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, had envisaged.
“Jinnah had always insisted that Pakistan would be a Muslim majority state, where people from all religions, whether Christians, Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Ahmadis or Shias, would be treated equally. Over the last seven decades, successive governments in Pakistan have contributed to implementing discriminatory systems that have resulted in political, economic and social persecution of religious minorities, which have encouraged acts of violence against them by Radical Islamic Groups,” the letter said.