Special Reports

Pak High Commissioner visits Mushawarat

New Delhi: Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit on 22 April paid a visit to the headquarters of the All India Muslim Majlis-e Mushawarat where he said that the leadership of India and Pakistan is "determined" to pursue the peace process, but Islamabad still awaits New Delhi’s response on resumption of Foreign Secretary level talks.

Interacting with the AIMMM President Navaid Hamid, Secretary General Mujtaba Farooq and other members of the apex body, the high commissioner said that despite the terror attack on the airbase in Pathankot, communication links between the two countries did not get snapped. "There is a need to work together to carry forward the peace process so that the South Asian region is rid of terrorism, hunger and poverty," he said.

Basit said it is strange that SAARC had not achieved the desired goal of regional cooperation like other regional blocs in the world due to various disputes among the member countries. "It is time for us to resolve these issue amicably and peacefully," he said. He added that the efforts to this end of both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif "are highly laudable". '

Referring to the condition of minorities in Pakistan, the envoy claimed that they are not facing any discrimination or victimisation.In fact Pakistan faces more sectarian violence and clashes than attacks on minorities, he said.

The high commissioner said that adequate representation is given to minorities in legislative assemblies and the national assembly. He acknowledged that the Blasphemy Law is "misused" by some forces. However, he said that more Muslims were held guilty under this law than non-Muslims.

He said that there is only three percent minorities in the country. "A bogey has been raised that at the time of creation of Pakistan there was more than 23 per cent minorities, and now only three per cent. No one understands the fact that bulk percentage of minorities were livng in East Pakistan, now Bangladesh," he said.

He praised the progress achieved by Muslims in all fields in India. He also mentioned the role of Indian religious leaders and others in their secular approach. Basit said that "some elements are trying to malign Islam for their own vested interests".

"We need to work together for unity among Muslims who are divided today on the basis of sect, ideology and region."

He said that India is the second largest Muslims nation in the world and the country`s secular and democratic system enables them to get opportunities in development of the nation.   

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 1-15 May 2016 on page no. 13

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