ISLAMABAD: The United Nations General Assembly once again witnessed some diplomatic wrangling between Pakistan and India on Friday as representatives of the two countries questioned each other's track record of dealing with religious minorities.
The debate took place after Saudi Arabia introduced a resolution, "Promoting a culture of peace and tolerance to safeguard religious sites," on Thursday which was co-sponsored by Pakistan and other Muslim countries.
Pakistan's UN Ambassador Munir Akram described the adoption of the resolution as "part of the efforts initiated by Prime Minister Imran Khan to combat Islamophobia and outlaw attacks on Muslim religious shrines, symbols and sacred personalities in certain countries."
"The adoption of the resolution is also a rebuke to the Hindutva extremists in India who have launched a systematic and government backed program to eliminate the heritage and legacy of Islam in India through the destruction of Islamic shrines and monuments and to the transformation of India's Muslims into second class citizens, or non-citizens," he was reported as saying by the Associated Press of Pakistan.
However, India called it "ironic" that Pakistan was one of the countries sponsoring the resolution, claiming that a recent attack on a Hindu shrine in Karak was fully supported by Pakistani law enforcement agencies.
In response, Pakistani delegate Zulqarnain Chheena told India not to "feign concern for minority rights elsewhere," and called it "the most egregious and persistent violator of minority rights itself."
"The clear difference between India and Pakistan with respect to minority rights can be gauged from the fact that the accused in the Karak incident were immediately arrested, orders were issued for repairing the temple, the highest level of judiciary took immediate notice, and the senior political leadership condemned the incident," he said. "Whereas in India, blatant acts of discrimination against Muslims and other minorities take place with state complicity."
Pakistan's ambassador to the United Nations expressed satisfaction after the resolution was adopted by UN member states.