The attack by PDP president and former J&K chief minister Mehbooba Mufti on the BJP-led Central government, over its religiously driven campaign for Ram Mandir and changing Muslim names of cities to Hindu names, is on valid grounds. However, her gushing praise for Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan for naming a forest reserve after Guru Nanak Dev, shows that she is either missing the wood for the trees or playing her usual soft separatist politics in the run up to assembly and parliamentary elections in J&K.
To begin with, Imran heads the government that continues to support cross-border terrorism in Kashmir, resulting in the killing of dozens of innocent Kashmiri civilians and policemen, ever since he came to power. Mufti, of all the politicians in Kashmir, had a hard time dealing with Pakistan Army and ISI backed jihadist violence through her tenure as the chief minister.
Apart from this, Khan represents Pakistan’s religious conservative constituency and is an ally of Afghanistan’s fanatic Taliban, which stones women to death and carries out public executions among other barbaric acts of oppression. Under Khan Ahmaddiyas, Hindus, Christians and other minorities in Pakistan continue to be discriminated against and persecuted by law. Non-Muslims in Pakistan continue to be barred from occupying high constitutional offices. After taking over, Khan capitulated to the far-right Islamist group Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan and dropped Ahmaddiyas from government bodies like the Economic Advisory Council.
As of today, Hindu and Sikh populations in Pakistan have been ground down to a historic low.
Though India too has a long way to go to address its own prejudiced attitudes towards minorities, for Mehbooba Mufti to compare Islamabad with New Delhi and champion the former is not only groundless and absurd, it also shows up Mufti’s own religiously driven politics. Unlike Pakistan, the Indian constitution guarantees equality to all its citizens and India does not support any cross-border terrorism.
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