Pakistan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) on Wednesday, 9 February, summoned the Indian envoy in Islamabad over the ongoing hijab controversy in Karnataka.
Pakistan government expressed their "grave concern" over the disreputable action of banning Muslim students wearing hijab and entering classes in certain colleges of Karnataka.
The statement by MoFA further stated that the Indian Charge d’Affaires Suresh Kumar was made aware of Pak government's concern over the alleged religious intolerance and discrimination, stigmatisation, and negative stereotyping against Muslims.
“The Charge d’Affaires was urged to convey to the Government of India, Pakistan’s extreme concern over the anti-hijab campaign, being spearheaded by RSS-BJP combine in Karnataka, which is part of its larger exclusionist and majoritarian agenda aimed at dehumanising and demonising Muslim women,” read the statement.
"The Indian government must hold the perpetrators of harassment against women in Karnataka to account and take adequate measures to ensure the safety, security, and well-being of Muslim women."Statement issued by MoFA
Pakistan Versus India?
The aforementioned statement was issued following a tweet by Pakistan's Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi. The tweet said that India is depriving Muslim students of their fundamental rights, a part of the country's plan of "ghettoisation of Muslims".
Another senior minister, Fawad Hussain – in charge of Pakistan's Information and Broadcasting Ministry – expressed his worry about developments in India, and said that wearing any dress or hijab is a personal choice that should be given to the citizens.
Responding to the tweets, the Union Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi of India stated that ministers from Pakistan, a "jungle of crime and cruelty" for minorities, were adding "communal colour" to a state decision on discipline of institutions and uniform code as their "conspiracy to defame India's inclusive culture".
He also told ANI that Pakistan was ready for "jugalbandi" with the "India bashing brigade".
"The reality is that the socio-educational-religious rights of minorities are being trampled brazenly in Pakistan... Equal rights, dignity, and prosperity of the minorities, including Muslims, is a part of India's commitment to tolerance, harmony and inclusivity."Union Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi told reporters in New Delhi
The issue has been ongoing since 28 December 2021, when the Kundapur Pre-University College in Udupi prohibited six girls wearing hijabs from attending classes.
At least four colleges in Kundapur in Udupi district barred Muslim girls wearing hijabs following saffron shawl protests. At the Government PU College in Kundapur, Muslim girls were allowed on the campus, but were segregated and seated in a different classroom, and were not given lessons on the day.
(With inputs from ANI and PTI.)