A day after the historic Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) became an act of law after getting the Indian President’s assent, a former Imran Khan party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) MLA from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province Baldev Singh, has welcomed the passing of the Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2019 and hailed PM Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah, for making it possible.
Fearing death, Pakistan’s Sikh ex-lawmaker had in September sought asylum in India over atrocities on minorities in Pakistan. Not only minorities but even Muslims aren’t safe in Pakistan, he said. “We are surviving in Pakistan with a lot of difficulties. I want Modi Sahab to do something for them. They are tortured there,” he had said on religious persecution of minorities in Pakistan.
According to an India Today report, the former PTI MLA, who has been living with his family in Indian Punjab’s Khanna Town from the past five months, said that this historic decision came as a ray of hope for the Hindu minorities in Islamic countries, as they were seeking asylum in India and were eagerly waiting for an action from the Indian government.
“We were expecting this as when we will be getting the Indian citizenship and it is now possible because of the efforts put in by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah. They have given us the gift of citizenship,” Baldev Singh said.
Baldev Singh said that Pakistan, Bangladesh and Saudi Arabia are all Islamic countries and the Hindus and Sikhs living in these countries cannot go anywhere. He said, “India is the only country where they can come and consider it as their home.”
Baldev Singh particularly lauded Home Minister Amit Shah whom he gave the credit for passing of the Citizenship Amendment Bill in the Parliament.
The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019, which seeks to give Indian citizenship to the members of Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities who have come from three neighbouring Islamic countries – Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh after facing religious persecution, became an act of law after President Ram Nath Kovind gave his assent to the historic legislation on Thursday. The Bill had got a clear passage in both the Lower and Upper house of the Indian Parliament on Monday and Wednesday respectively.
Interestingly, while on one hand a minister, who was once a part of Imran Khan’s coterie, lauded the Indian government’s decision on the Citizenship Amendment Bill, Pakistan’s PM Imran Khan had gone on a deranged rant after the Bill cleared the Lok Sabha.
After losing his mind and dignity over the invalidation of the special status of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, Pakistan PM Imran Khan went on to a bizarre rant to condemn the Citizenship Amendment Bill in one of his tweet posted on December 10.
He has asserted that the enactment “violates all norms of international human rights law and bilateral agreements with Pakistan”. He further insinuated that the bill was a part of the “RSS Hindu Rashtra design of expansionism propagated by the fascist Modi government”.
However, despite Imran Khan’s skewed rhetorics, Modi government’s step has been welcomed by Hindu refugees from Pakistan across the country who have been seen dancing to dhols and celebrating with sweets after the passage of the Citizenship Amendment Bill.
The migrants lauded the Centre and Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the bill which they said would put an end to their lives in exile. Hindu refugees at Majnu Ka Tilla were seen celebrating with sweets and gulal, Modi cutouts and Tricolour flags.
“We were forced to convert to Islam. My woman and daughters weren’t safe there. Those were bad times. I don’t want to recall them,” said one Talib Kumar, a man who had moved to India in 2011 said he didn’t see a future in Pakistan.
Similar celebratory scenes were seen at places like Bhati Mines in Sanjay Nagar and Rohini, both predominantly housing Hindu migrants from Pakistan. Here too, Hindu refugees took to the streets to dance and sing and celebrate the ‘historic’ moment.