Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Saturday (November 9) raked up the Supreme Court’s verdict in the Ayodhya case on the sidelines of the inauguration ceremony of the Kartarpur corridor, wondering whether the ruling was timed to overshadow Islamabad’s goodwill towards the Sikh community.
Talking to Indian journalists, he wondered why the verdict has been delivered on a day the Kartarpur Corridor was thrown open to Sikh pilgrims in a historic people-to-people initiative.
“Why the verdict came today… It’s timing is significant. Is it not an effort to play down the historic initiative of Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan for the Sikh community?” Qureshi asked.
In a statement, the Pakistan Foreign Ministry said that the decision by India’s Supreme Court has failed to uphold the demands of justice and that it shredded the veneer of so-called secularism of India. “We have noted with deep concern the decision of the Indian Supreme Court regarding the historic Babri Masjid,” it said.
It said that the Indian government should ensure the protection of Muslims, their lives, rights and properties.
The FO urged the international community, the United Nations and other human rights organizations in particular to play their role by restraining India from its pursuit of an extremist ideology and to ensure equal rights and protection of the minorities in India.
In New Delhi, the external affairs ministry rejected the unwarranted and gratuitous comments made by Pakistan on the judgment of the Supreme Court of India on a civil matter that is completely internal to India.
It pertains to the rule of law and equal respect for all faiths, concepts that are not part of their ethos. So, while Pakistan’s lack of comprehension is not surprising, their pathological compulsion to comment on our internal affairs with the obvious intent of spreading hatred is condemnable,” the MEA said.
The Indian Supreme Court in a unanimous verdict on Saturday cleared the way for the construction of a Ram Temple at the disputed site at Ayodhya, and directed the Centre to allot a 5-acre plot to the Sunni Waqf Board for building a mosque.
The Kartarpur corridor facilitating Indian pilgrims to visit one of Sikhism’s holiest shrines in Pakistani town of Narowal was thrown open by Prime Minister Imran Khan amid fanfare and presence of several thousands Sikhs.
The corridor links Dera Baba Nanak shrine in Gurdaspur in India to Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib in Pakistan, the final resting place of Sikh faith’s founder Guru Nanak Dev.
The inauguration of the corridor comes in the midst of frayed ties between India and Pakistan following New Delhi’s decision in August to withdraw Jammu and Kashmir’s special status and bifurcate the state into two union territories.