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Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari held a telephonic conversation with the Secretary General of the United Nations, Mr. Antonio Guterres. The Foreign Minister apprised the Secretary General of the ongoing Islamophobic actions by India’s ruling party, BJP, in particular the derogatory remarks recently made by two of its senior officials towards the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).

The Foreign Minister underscored that such wilful and deliberate provocation had deeply hurt the sentiments of billions of Muslims around the world. He urged the Secretary General to take cognizance of this abhorrent development amidst the rising tide of hate speech and Islamophobia in India. He also condemned the high-handed treatment meted out to peaceful protestors by the Indian authorities, including unlawful bulldozing of protestors’ homes as a form of punishment without any due process, which was the latest manifestation of the BJP-RSS combine’s unabated persecution of Muslims with complete impunity.

The Foreign Minister noted that despite the international denunciation of the BJP officials’ sacrilegious remarks, the failure of the top BJP leadership and Indian government to unequivocally condemn it was deeply disappointing and pointed to their complicity. The BJP-RSS dispensation had not only persisted in its Islamophobic acts, but also shamefully chosen to handle peaceful public protests with brutal and indiscriminate use of force.

Noting the UN’s positions on hate speech and Islamophobia, and the comments by the High Representative for the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC), the Foreign Minister urged the Secretary General to monitor such incidents and highlight the new and emerging threat posed by Islamophobia, xenophobia and right-wing extremism. The Foreign Minister also urged the Secretary General to play his due role in halting the grave and systematic human rights violations in IIOJK.

The Foreign Minister and the Secretary General agreed to remain in contact for coordinating international efforts to effectively combat Islamophobia.

14 June 2022

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