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New Delhi: After India called the vandalisation of a Karachi temple a demonstration of “systematic persecution” of minorities, Pakistan dismissed the Indian criticism, pointing out that Karachi police was taking action against perpetrators, “unlike the state machinery in India that shields anti-Muslim ‘fanatics’.”
On June 8, idols at the Shri Mari Maata Mandir in Karachi’s Korangi area were destroyed.
Five to six unknown suspects had entered the temple and escaped after vandalising it, Korangi station house office Farooq Sanjrani had told reporters. He had added that a case had been registered against the unknown suspects who attacked the temple.
In his press briefing on June 9, Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Arindam Bagchi had said that India has noted the recent vandalisation incident.
“We believe this is another act in the systematic persecution of religious minorities,” he said.
Bagchi added that India has conveyed its protest to the Pakistani government “and again urged to ensure the safety, security and well-being of its minority communities.”
A day later, on June 10, Pakistan noted its rejection of the MEA’s remarks with a statement by Foreign Office spokesperson Asim Iftikhar Ahmad.
Ahmad said, “Unlike the violence against the Muslim community that is orchestrated by religious fanatics who enjoy full patronage of India’s state machinery, the Government of Pakistan is seized of this matter and action is being taken against the perpetrators.”
Ahmad mentioned the FIR and said efforts were on to identify and arrest perpetrators.
“They will not escape justice and the Government will deal with them with the full force of law,” he said, adding that “the government of India would be well advised to introspect and ensure the protection of the fundamental rights, lives and places of worship of minorities across India, particularly Muslims who are facing brutal attacks from the proponents of ‘Hindutva’ holding on to the reins of power in the country.”
The spokesperson also brought up the now-suspended and expelled BJP leaders’ comments against Prophet Mohammed, over which Pakistan had summoned the Indian charg d’affaires.
In a tweet, Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif had also condemned the controversial comments and alleged that India is “trampling religious freedoms and persecuting Muslims.”
“Unequivocal condemnation by the BJP top leadership and the Indian government, as well as decisive and demonstrable action against the BJP officials responsible for making sacrilegious remarks recently would be the first step towards healing the suffering of Muslims in India and the sentiments of Muslims worldwide,” the FO spokesperson said.