Islamabad [Pakistan], November 29 (ANI): Highlighting the hypocrisy of Pakistan, which remains silent on Uyghur Muslims persecution in China, but lectures France on religious freedom, Pakistan-based journalist Kunwar Khuldune Shahid says Islamabad cannot replicate the apparent religious tolerance of those of different faiths as the number of minority places of worship in the country has reduced dramatically in recent years.
In an opinion piece in The Spectator, Shahid talks about the recent remarks made by Pakistan government and Prime Minister Imran Khan against French president Emmanuel Macron over his remarks on the cartoons of Muhammad.
A tweet by Pakistan Human Right Minister Shireen Mazari escalated diplomatic tensions between the two countries.
She had to later delete the tweet where she had said that French President Emmanuel Macron was treating Muslims like Nazis treated Jews in World War II, after France demanded she withdraw her remarks.
In a tweet linking to an online article, Mazari on Saturday had said: "Macron is doing to Muslims what the Nazis did to the Jews -- Muslim children will get ID numbers (other children won't) just as Jews were forced to wear the yellow star on their clothing for identification."Mazari's earlier tweet was strongly condemned by the French Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs, which issued a statement demanding Charge d'affaires of Pakistan in Paris for rectification of Mazari's tweet, terming it deeply shocking and insulting.
Shahid says that this was the latest in a string of embarrassing foreign policy blunders in its dealings with France.
In September, in the same week, a Pakistani-born man targeted the former offices of Charlie Hebdo in Paris, Pakistan's prime minister Imran Khan was busy condemning 'Islamophobic' cartoons.
Khan told the UN that rising global nationalism has 'accentuated Islamophobia' and claimed that Muslims 'continue to be targeted with impunity in many countries'. Last month, Khan went a step further, accusing Macron of 'deliberately provoking' Muslims.
"While Pakistani leaders have been visibly more invested in French Muslims - and conveniently quiet on Uighurs - they seem to ignore that Islam is thriving in France: the number of mosques in the country has grown from 33 in 1971 to over 2,500 now. It is a pity that Pakistan can't replicate this apparent tolerance for those of other faiths; the number of minority places of worship in Pakistan has reduced dramatically in recent years," Shahid writes.
"Despite effective religious apartheid against Ahmadis, and a reported 1,000 forced conversions to Islam each year, Pakistan continues to think it has a moral ground to lecture France on religious freedom. Why?," he adds.
When corrected by France's Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs, Mazari responded with a snarky tweet asking 'why are nuns allowed to wear their 'habit' in public places but Muslim women not their hijab?'.
This ignores the fact that France bans all religious symbols in public institutions, Shahid says.
"It's also worth remembering that, for all the outrage directed at France's crackdown on Islamism, the measures put forward include steps that already happen in majority-Muslim countries, including state regulation of mosques and imams. But try telling this to Imran Khan," he adds. (ANI)