Agency NEW DELHI: India on Thursday hit back at Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan for slamming the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, saying such “unwarranted” criticism cannot absolve Islamabad of the “blatant persecution” of religious minorities in the neighbouring country. External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said the persecution of the religious minorities in Pakistan flows from the country’s Constitution and its “draconian” blasphemy laws. On Tuesday, Khan said that the bill “violates all norms of international human rights law and bilateral agreements with Pakistan” and that “it is part of the RSS Hindu Rashtra design of expansionism.” “I am not going to respond to every unwarranted and gratuitous comments made by Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan on our internal affairs,” Kumar said. “Such comments cannot absolve Pakistan of the blatant persecution of the religious minorities which flows, including from the discrimination imbibed in its Constitution, the draconian blasphemy laws and the apathy of state institutions in protecting girls belonging to minority community from rape, abduction, forced conversion and marriages,” Kumar said. He said Pakistan needs to look inwards and ensure protection and promotion of the rights of its minorities rather than “compulsively” commenting on internal affairs of other countries in the breach of internationally recognised norms. The bill seeks to provide citizenship to non-Muslim persecuted religious minorities from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan. The Lok Sabha had passed the contentious bill on Monday while the Rajya Sabha cleared it on Wednesday notwithstanding simmering anger against the bill for last several months. The bill will become a law once President Ram Nath Kovind gives it his assent.
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