Sat, 10 Jun 2023

London [UK], May 18 (ANI): UK's Minister of State for Foreign Commonwealth and Development Affairs Tariq Mahmood Ahmad on Tuesday said that he is "acutely aware of the challenges faced by minority communities in Pakistan" and noted that these issues are raised in a "constructive way" with Islamabad.

The Minister made the remarks while answering questions during a debate in the House of Lords.

"Being of the Ahmadi Muslim community myself, I assure the noble Lord that I am acutely aware of the challenges faced by minority communities in Pakistan, and we raise these in a constructive way," Ahmad said while answering a question by Raminder Singh Ranger, member of the House of Lords who highlighted the recent killing of two Sikhs in Pakistan's Peshawar.

"In 1947, the British created two countries: one to promote people on the basis of their religion and the other to promote people regardless of their religion. You can see the two different countries now. People in Pakistan--Ahmadis, Sikhs, Christians and Hindus--are prosecuted and forcibly converted, and Shia mosques are attacked," Ranger said.

Ahmad highlighted the "important and constructive relationship", that the UK shares with the Government of Pakistan.

Ahmad also referred to Kashmir issue and said it is for India and Pakistan to move forward and agree that there is bright future for both countries.

"It is important, when it comes to issues--including those of Kashmir--for both countries to move forward, mutually and together, and agree that there is a bright future for both countries, which share so much in terms of culture, language and, one hopes, a common, shared future of prosperity for the wider region," he said.

He also said that any allegation of human rights abuse is deeply concerning and must be investigated thoroughly.

On a question regarding the trial of separatist Yasin Malik, the UK Minister said that the British government is watching the trial "very closely".

He said Yasin Malik "has been charged under Indian law" and that the UK government "cannot directly intervene in the independent judicial process of India."Last week, Yasin Malik pleaded guilty before an NIA court in a terror funding case.

The UK Minister also said that he is looking to visit India in near future and discuss "a wide range of issues, specifically including the issue of human rights, which we always do."Ahmad highlighted that the UK government raises all its concerns "in a very candid way" with India due to "the nature and strength of our (India-UK) relationship." (ANI)

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