19:45 GMT26 January 2021
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    Protests Against New Citizenship Law in India (51)
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    New Delhi (Sputnik): Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, while addressing the Global Forum on Refugees in Geneva, Switzerland on Tuesday, said that the refugee crisis could even lead to a conflict between the two nuclear-armed south Asian neighbours.

    The Indian Foreign Ministry on Tuesday criticised Pakistani Prime Minister Khan, as he had slammed New Delhi by saying that the country's new citizenship law could lead to millions of Muslims fleeing India.

    "It has been the unfortunate experience of most of Pakistan’s neighbours that actions by that country have had adverse consequences next door. Over the past 72 years, the Islamic Republic of Pakistan has systematically persecuted all of its minorities, forcing most of them to flee to India. Moreover, Prime Minister Khan wishes the world forgets what his Army did in 1971 to the people of the erstwhile East Pakistan. Pakistan must act to protect and promote the rights of its own minorities and co-religionists", said India’s official spokesperson Raveesh Kumar.

    In 1971, the Pakistani Army allegedly began committing genocide against the Bengali population in then-East Pakistan. As the atrocities increased, former Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi supported the guerrilla war of East Pakistan, while India also gave refuge to civilians from the other side of the border. The 1971 India-Pakistan War ended with the Pakistani Army surrendering and losing half its country, leading to the birth of Bangladesh.

    The response came as foreign ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar was answering a query regarding the Pakistani prime minister’s statement at the Global Refugee Forum in Geneva.

    Raising questions about the Indian government’s recent decision on the abrogation of the special status of Kashmir and forging a new citizenship law, Pakistani PM Khan said that it could lead to millions of Muslims fleeing India, creating "a refugee crisis that would dwarf other crises".

    India in early August revoked the special status enjoyed by the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir and divided it into two federally administered territories. The state has been under a heavy security blanket since then, virtually disconnected from the outside world. Although many restrictions were phased out, Internet connectivity still remains suspended.

    Another legislative move by the federal government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi was the amended Citizenship Act that grants citizenship to illegal immigrants from six religious minorities – Hindus, Parsis, Jains, Christians, Buddhists, and Sikhs, but excludes Muslims, from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan, if they arrived in India prior to 2015.

    Urging other countries to step in, Khan said that Pakistan would not accommodate more refugees coming from India in the wake of a curfew imposed by New Delhi in disputed Kashmir.

    Protests Against New Citizenship Law in India (51)


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