–Experts fear CAB may trigger an exodus of Muslim refugees from India leading to chaos in region
ISLAMABAD: As violent clashes erupted in New Delhi and other major cities of India over Citizens Amendment Bill (CAB) introduced by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government, experts in Pakistan fear a new wave of violence and exodus of Indian minorities which may put security countries of region at risk.
A group of Indian Muslims petitioned the Indian Supreme Court that the law violated articles of equality, fundamental rights and the right to life. This followed criticism from domestic and international leaders of the government’s move.
According to experts, CAB, the bill passed by Indian Lok Sabha which offers Indian nationality to all nationals of Pakistan and two other South Asian countries, except Muslims, is premised on falsehood and is in complete violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international covenants on elimination of all forms of discrimination based on religion or belief.
Experts told Pakistan Today that the Lok Sabha legislation is also in complete contravention of various bilateral agreements between Pakistan and India particularly the one concerning security and rights of minorities in the respective countries.
Minister for State for States and Frontier Regions Shehryar Khan Afridil, who deals with the issue of refugees and migrants in Pakistan, said that he fears that the legislation may trigger a new wave of massive violence in India which may follow exodus of migrants into India’s neighbouring countries – Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal.
“Since Prime Minister Modi took over the government, there is a systematic persecution of Indian minorities in India. Muslims are a specific target of this campaign. CAB is a new move to target Muslims in India,” he told Pakistan Today while speaking from Geneva where he has arrived to look after arrangements for Global Refugee Forum 2019.
Afridi said that the world would have to deal with another humanitarian crisis if Muslims of India are forced to migrate.
“We are speaking about an exodus of millions of migrants if anything happens and the world fails to act. World needs to act before it is too late,” he added.
Experts said that CAB is another major step towards the realisation of the concept of ‘Hindu Rashtra,’ idealised and relentlessly pursued by the right-wing Hindu leaders of BJP for several decades.
Dr Zafar Jaspal, a scholar at Quaid-e-Azam University (QUA), said that the Indian CAB has exposed totally India’s secularism and defied Indian Constitution’s Article 4.
“It ended Indian states pluralistic character. Precisely, India is converted into Hindutva state, in which minorities rights are no more protected,” he added.
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Secretary General Ahsan Iqbal said that the CAB bill passed in India is violation of all covenants on human rights.
“It is discriminatory against Muslims and proves once again that Muslims are not secure in India. Quaid e Azam sensed it long ago and demanded separate homeland for Muslims. It is condemnable and international community must take note of this Indian act,” he added.
Syed Khurram Ellahi, a professor at PIDE, said that the CAB is a part of Indian strategy of targeting Muslims, driven by a toxic mix of an extremist ‘Hindutva’ ideology and hegemonic ambitions in the region.
“Giving citizenship to selective groups on the basis of faith and religious beliefs is also a clear manifestation of interference in the internal matters of neighboring countries, which are in violation of United Nations’ (UN) human rights charter,” the professor added.
Noted defence analyst General (r) Amjad Shoaib said that CAB is in violation of basic human rights and religious discrimination being anti-Muslim. “Muslims have been singled out and it is the case in Assam. The Muslims have been alienated and termed second rate citizens in their own country. Kashmir is already burning and people have been caged in their own houses and now the Muslims are being persecuted in rest of India,” he added.
He further said that the way things are developing in India, Pakistan may have to handle massive refugee situation.