Ram Mandir: Why Pakistan Must Be the Last Country To Lecture India on Minorities

The international community is well aware of Pakistan’s own record of encouraging extremist religious thinking.

5 min read
Hindi Female

It is an indication of the current reduced salience of Pakistan in Indian thinking that, on the whole, the Indian media has given no prominence to Pakistan Foreign Ministry comments and those in that country’s media on the consecration of the Ram Mandir on 22 January.

Indeed, as of now, the Ministry of External Affairs has not even responded to its Pakistani counterpart’s gratuitous statement. This has been a wise approach for a response would have imparted some importance; indifference and a lack of response are sometimes diplomatically very potent tools.


Pakistani Reaction To Ram Mandir In Ayodhya

The Pakistan Foreign Ministry statement began thus, "Pakistan condemns the construction and consecration of the 'Ram Temple’ on the site of the Babri Masjid in the Indian city of Ayodhya”. The statement went on to criticise the Indian judiciary and also emphasised that the construction of the temple is an indication of "growing majoritarianism in India” and the “marginalization” of Muslims.

Using extraordinarily strong language, it claimed that the temple would remain a "blot on the face of Indian democracy for times to come”.

Pakistan also reiterated what it has been asserting especially since August 2019 – that the "rising tide of ‘Hindutva' poses a serious threat to religious harmony and regional peace”.

The Pakistani statement called on the international community to “take cognizance of the growing Islamophobia, hate speech and hate crimes in India”; it also called on the United Nations to take steps to preserve the Islamic heritage of India.

Finally, it called on India to ensure the “safety and security of religious minorities, including Muslims and their places of worship."


Pak’s Condemnation of Temple Consecration Has No Int’l Bearing

No important country in the world will really take heed of Pakistan’s diatribe on the consecration of the Ram Mandir. For them, this comes within India’s domestic jurisdiction.

Some sections of the international liberal media have commented on the implications of the Ram Mandir for India’s future political direction. These comments are, however, not related to the Pakistani statement or the comments of its media.

The international community is well aware that Pakistan’s own record of encouraging extremist religious thinking and promoting terrorism in the garb of 'jihad' leaves it in no position to point fingers at other countries.

The fact is that it is that Pakistan’s foundational doctrine – the two-nation theory – destroyed the prospects of forming non-denominational nationhood and leaving India 'united’ at the departure of the British.

Pakistan’s Propagation of Religious Extremism

The Indian Muslim League by itself and with the encouragement of sections of the British colonial administration promoted the idea that Hindus and Muslims constituted not only separate but also 'irreconcilable’ nations which could not live peacefully in one country. That led the Muslim League under Mohammad Ali Jinnah’s leadership to demand a separate state – Pakistan – in March 1940 in Lahore.

Thereafter, Jinnah and his British collaborators ensured that every attempt at preserving the unity of India came to naught. The inevitable result was the creation of Pakistan which adopted an Islamic Constitution in 1956.

That Constitution and the subsequent ones have openly discriminated against minorities.


The rise of sectarianism is the inevitable consequence of theocracy. Besides, theocracies also inevitably become more and more extremist. That has been the case in Pakistan.

The catalyst for these developments was General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq who staged a coup in 1977 and in the early 1980s, introduced the Nizam-e-Mustapha, which stressed the application of the sharia in criminal laws. Consequently, it introduced public whipping as punishment. Worse, Zia amended the blasphemy laws making the death penalty mandatory for those who were held guilty of insulting the Prophet of Islam and the Islamic faith.

Thousands have been charged falsely under these laws and have suffered, rampaging mobs have lynched and destroyed the property of minorities on trumped-up charges.

Pakistan’s Ruthless Blasphemy Law Targets Minorities

A most egregious case was that of a Sri Lankan Executive, Priyantha Kumara, working in a Pakistani firm who was dragged out of the company by workers on a false charge of blasphemy beaten and burnt to death in 2021.

Earlier, in 2011, Salman Taseer, who was the governor of Punjab was killed by his bodyguard, Mumtaz Qadri, because Taseer had met an impoverished Christian lady who was falsely charged with blasphemy. Qadri considered that Taseer had acted in an un-Islamic manner and killed him.

When Qadri was produced in court, lawyers showered rose petals on him. He was eventually tried and found guilty of murder and hanged in 2016.

Instead of being condemned for a heinous crime, Qadri is a hero to many in Pakistan, and his grave, only 25 Km from Islamabad, has become a venerated place of pilgrimage for lakhs of Pakistanis.

No political party or the Army has had the courage to publicly call him out for killing someone whom he was supposed to protect in the first place.


Pakistan’s Selective Treatment of Minorities Is Hypocritical

Pakistan has been undergoing the rise of religious extremism within the Islamic faith itself. In such a situation, the condition of the religious minorities – both Hindus and Christians – is miserable.

Repeated instances of abduction of young Hindu girls in Sindh are commonplace. They are converted to Islam and forced into marriage. The authorities stand by and do nothing.

The only minority to which Pakistan gives some consideration is the Sikh community. The reason for doing this is to create among the Indian Sikhs a feeling of alienation towards the Indian state.

That Pakistan doesn't have much chance of success in achieving this dastardly objective is obvious but that does not imply its efforts will cease.

In fact, the last sentence of its statement on the Ram Mandir mentions all minorities. The reason for doing so is to garner the support of Christian groups in the West but more so to include the Sikhs, without mentioning them outright.

While Pakistan is currently occupied with its domestic political issues where elections are to take place on 8 February and with an economy in the ICU, the Indian authorities will have to take care that it does not seek to use the Ram Mandir to engage in concerted propaganda and spread disaffection against the secular Indian state.

(The writer is a former Secretary [West], Ministry of External Affairs. He can be reached @VivekKatju. This is an opinion piece, and the views expressed above are the author’s own. The Quint neither endorses nor is responsible for them.)

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

Read Latest News and Breaking News at The Quint, browse for more from opinion

Topics:  Muslims   Ram Mandir   India-Pakistan 

Speaking truth to power requires allies like you.
Become a Member
3 months
12 months
12 months
Check Member Benefits
Read More