India asked Pak to take steps to protect and promote its minority community: MEA
New Delhi, Jul 3 : India has asked Pakistan from time to time to take steps to protect and promote safety, security and well-being of its minority community, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said on Wednesday.
Replying to a question in Lok Sabha, Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan said it is the responsibility of the Pakistani government to discharge its constitutional obligations towards its citizens, including those from the minority communities.
"Based on reports of atrocities on minorities in Pakistan, the government has, from time to time, taken up the matter with the Pakistani government and asked it to take steps to protect and to promote the safety, security and well-being of its minority communities," he said.
He said India has on several occasions highlighted the human rights violations in Pakistan, including at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.
"It has recommended to Pakistan, inter alia, to end forced conversions and marriages of minorities, including Hindu, Sikh and Christian women, and prosecute all cases; to stop targeting political dissidents and legitimate criticism in Sindh, Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa," he said.
"To stop torture, enforced disappearances and unlawful killings, including those of journalists and activists, by its security agencies and prosecute perpetrators; to review the education curriculum, including in Madrassas, to remove extreme prejudices, religious intolerance and historical distortions; to stop sectarian violence, systemic persecution and attacks on Muslim minorities, such as Shias, Ahmadiyas, Ismailias and Hazaras," he said.
In reply to another question, Muraleedharan said the government engages with other countries, on an ongoing basis, on the issue of terrorism during various high-level and other official visits.
The government has also set up Joint Working Groups (JWGs) on counter-terrorism with 23 countries and three groupings -- Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC), Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) and European Union (EU).
"Meetings of JWGs are held on a regular basis, which have been found useful for exchange of views on threat perceptions, sharing of experiences and best practices as well as capacity building," he said.
"The government, based on evolving situations, will continue to engage with other countries on counter-terrorism, as necessary. India has proposed a Comprehensive Convention of International Terrorism (CCIT) in the year 1996 and has been continuously pressing for its early finalisation and adoption by the United Nations General Assembly," he added.