Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday said his country would treat minorities as equal citizens “unlike what is happening in India”.
“Naya Pakistan is Quaid’s [Mohammad Ali Jinnah’s] Pakistan and will ensure that our minorities are treated as equal citizens, unlike what is happening in India,” Khan tweeted on the occasion of Jinnah’s birth anniversary. He added that Jinnah had envisioned Pakistan as a “democratic, just and compassionate” nation and wanted minorities to be equal citizens.
“It should be remembered that his [Jinnah’s] early political career was as an ambassador for Hindu Muslim unity,” Khan said, adding Jinnah’s struggle for a separate nation for Muslims only began when he realised Muslims would not be treated as equal citizens by the Hindu majority in India.
Last week, Khan had said that his administration will show the Narendra Modi government “how to treat minorities” after actor Naseeruddin Shah expressed worry over mob violence in India. “Even in India, people are saying that minorities are not being treated as equal citizens,” Khan had said, adding that his government is taking steps to ensure that religious minorities in Pakistan get their rights.
Shah had later hit back at the Pakistani prime minister. “I think Mr Khan should be walking the talk in his own country instead of commenting on issues that don’t concern him,” the actor had said. “We have been a democracy for 70 years and we know how to look after ourselves.”