New Delhi, May 9 (IANS) India Wednesday asked Pakistan to ensure the protection of the constitutional rights of minorities following reports that Hindus in the country had been allegedly persecuted.
Minister of External Affairs S.M. Krishna told the Lok Sabha that the government hoped that Pakistan would “discharge its constitutional duties towards its minority communities”.
“In view of the purely humanitarian nature of this issue, we appeal to the people and government of Pakistan to take all possible steps to protect the constitutional rights of their minorities by ensuring their safety, security and well being,” Krishna said, replying to an urgent calling attention motion by Murli Manohar Joshi of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Krishna said the government had from time to time come across reports on the problems faced by members of the minority communities in Pakistan.
“Incidents of persecution and intimidation of the minority communities have also been reported,” he said, referring to a recent incident in which three Hindu girls in Sindh province were reportedly abducted and married against their will to Muslim men.
He said the girls were “forcefully converted to Islam”.
“This issue is a matter of concern to the (Indian) government and is being taken up appropriately with the government of Pakistan.”
The minister said it was the responsibility of Pakistan to discharge its constitutional obligations towards its citizens, including those from the minority community.
“In the past, we have also seen of reports of kidnapping and killing of members of the minority communities and desecration or encroachment of their places of religious worship in Pakistan.”
Krishna said the issue had been taken up with Pakistan in the past.
He said President Asif Ali Zardari had taken serious note of the reports and ordered actions to bring the culprits to justice.