By Islamuddin Sajid
ISLAMABAD (AA) - If there are threats to non-Muslims or their places of worships in Pakistan, these will meet a firm response, said the nation's prime minister on Thursday.
"I want to warn our people that anyone in Pakistan targeting our non-Muslim citizens or their places of worship will be dealt with strictly. Our minorities are equal citizens of this country," Imran Khan tweeted.
His statement came after social media users shared an unconfirmed video of an attack on mosque in Delhi, India and reports of clashes over the controversial new citizenship law that claimed lives of at least 22 people to date.
The Pakistani premier expressed concern over the developing situation in India and said "whenever a racist ideology based on hatred takes over, it leads to bloodshed."
"Today in India we are seeing the Nazi-inspired RSS ideology take over a nuclear-armed state of over a billion people," Khan said, referring to a right-wing Hindu group Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.
Recalling his address at the United Nation General Assembly (UNGA) in New York last year, Khan said he had forecast in his address that things are going toward wrong side in India.
"As I had predicted in my UNGA address last year, once the genie is out of the bottle, the bloodshed will get worse. IOJK [Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir] was the beginning. Now 200 million Muslims in India are being targeted," he said.
He urged the international community to come forward and to act now.
Clashes, which erupted in northeast Delhi on Sunday between pro- and anti-citizenship law protesters, took a violent turn on Monday when U.S. President Donald Trump kicked off a two-day maiden trip to India.
The situation started when Kapil Mishra, a leader of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, urged police to clear the protest site ahead of Trump’s official visit. In a video released on Twitter, he was seen giving an ultimatum to police.
Soon after, a group of protesters supporting the law -- flanked by police officers -- entered the protest site. A video on social media showed men chanting "Jai Shree Ram" or "Hail Lord Ram," a slogan synonymous with right-wing Hindus, before starting throwing stones.
The new law guarantees Indian citizenship to non-Muslim religious minorities escaping persecution in three neighboring countries -- Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh. Activists and opposition politicians have described the legislation as divisive, discriminatory and against Muslims as well as the country's secular constitution.