NEW DELHI :
Pakistan on Monday used the platform provided by a Non-Aligned Movement meet, that was called to discuss strategy to combat the novel coronavirus pandemic, to launch a broadside against India on the alleged mistreatment of Muslim minorities in the country and the Kashmir dispute.
In his speech, Pakistan’s President Arif Alvi who spoke before Prime Minister Narednra Modi, did not name India. But he spoke of “Islamophobia", use of “hate speech", “the incitement of hatred", the “scapegoating" of a particular community and the denial of a access to medical attention to the community in Pakistan’s “immediate neighbourhood." This follows reports of the alleged vilification of Muslims in India after it was found that a congregation of the Tablighi Jamaat missionary movement had been a cause for a spike in cases of covid-19 in India.
In his speech, Alvi spoke of the reported specific targeting of Muslims in India and also drew attention to the so called lockdown in Kashmir which he said was standing in the way of Kashmiris getting access to medical attention in these times. “Kashmiris continue to be denied high speed internet and other facilities," he said, adding that many Kashmiri leaders were “languishing in prisons" – a reference to some politicians being kept in preventive detention after India revoked the special status given to Kashmir under Article 370 of the Indian Constitution. Many of those who had been kept in preventive custody had been released ahead of the lockdown imposed across India on 24 March to contain the spread of covid-19 in India.
Alvi also slammed India for trying to change the demographic profile of the region, a reference to the rules of domicile introduced by India in the Jammu and Kashmir region last month that opened avenues of employment to non-Kashmiris as well. Domiciles were redefined as “those who have resided for a period of 15 years in the Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir or have studied for a period of seven years and appeared in Class 10/12 examination in an educational institutions located in the union territory" -- that drew protests from Pakistan.
The Pakistani president also used the NAM platform to try and put India in the dock for allegedly violating a 2003 ceasefire between the two countries. Speaking of “heavy shelling" across the de facto line of control border in Kashmir, Alvi said that this was continuing despite the UN calling for a cessation of all hostilities across the world as countries focus on controlling the pandemic. “All skirmishes and warlike situations should cease," Alvi said placing the “discouragement of intolerance" and “incitement to hatred" among a list of demands put forth to the Azeri chair of the NAM meet.