Citizenship Amendment Bill 2019 : Pakistani Propaganda

The comic timing of Imran Khan has been ever so fulfilling consummate, that it could have been half mistaken as an effort to be deliberately therapeutic. However his take on India’s Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) 2019, not only advertises the trademark lack of seriousness in appreciating International affairs and Norms, but also the shallow intellectual depth in which not only him but his sham of a Government and its lackey’s function.

In a tweet, he said that the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill “violates all norms of international human rights law and bilateral agreements with Pakistan“. He is generally out of his depths, in most, if not in all Issues pertaining to Pakistan, and then he comes up with something hilariously so naïve.

Let’s first understand what International conventions and Norms say, and are they in any way being questioned by CAA.

Non-Refoulement: Upholding Principle of the United Nations

UNHCR serves as the ‘guardian’ of the 1951 Convention and its 1967 Protocol, whereby the core principle is non-refoulment, which asserts that a refugee should not be returned to a country where they face persecution and serious threats to their life or freedom. This is now considered a rule of customary international law.

The 1951 Convention consolidates previous international instruments relating to refugees and provides the most comprehensive codification of the rights of refugees at the international level. In contrast to earlier international refugee instruments, which applied to specific groups of refugees, the 1951 Convention endorses a single definition of the term “refugee” in Article 1. A refugee, according to the Convention, is someone who is unable or unwilling to return to their country of origin owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion.

UN convention Mentions Religion as one of the critical denominations to understand and shadow pursue a Refugee Crisis.

Indian Citizenship Amendment Act 2019 and its Tenets

However, the recent passing of the CAA, allowing for the naturalization of persecuted (non-Muslim) minorities from neighboring Islamic Republics Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan, has been Red Flashed as being Communal and anti-Muslim.

“Citizenship Amendment Bill is against Indian Muslims” is the tagline Imran Khan is propagating. While it has nothing to do with Indian citizens, Muslim or otherwise, as it seeks to grant citizenship to religious minorities in Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan. People belonging to Hindu, Jain, Buddhist, Sikhs, Parsi or Christian communities from these three countries, who have come to India before 2014, to escape religious persecution and already living in India, will be able to apply for citizenship after the Act is signed an put into effect. No Indian citizen will be asked to produce any document to prove citizenship.

“Muslims from other countries can’t become Indian citizens after CAB is passed” is what Pakistani establishment says. Far from that, CAB is a special one-time measure for the religious minorities who have already come to India after facing persecution in the three specified countries only.

While at it, the amendment does not cancel the existing naturalization laws.

Any person from any foreign country seeking to be an Indian citizen can apply for the same under the existing laws.

There is no bar on Muslims from anywhere in the world to seek Indian citizenship under existing laws, CAB does not prohibit that.

Anti Muslim?

It does not provide citizenship to Hindu, Jain, Buddhist, Sikhs, Parsi or Christian including Muslim communities, if they are from Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Myanmar, Indonesia, Malaysia or from any other nation, even if being persecuted on religious grounds, or otherwise.

Then if Muslims are on equal footing with all other communities including Hindus, why are Muslims being left out from clause of a grant of citizenship in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh?

Answer lies partly in the United Nations 1951 Convention and its 1967 Protocol definition of a Refugee: “A refugee, according to the Convention, is someone who is unable or unwilling to return to their country of origin owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion”. And “ Member nations can, at their discretion make available citizenship based on these underlying aspects, grounded on international justice and the refugee’s moral obligation to characterize their interests in the parent state”.

Hence it naturally answers the Pakistani gaffe “If CAB is about religious persecution, why Shias, Ahmadiyyas, Balochs, and Rohingyas are not included”. It is because all these groups are the ethnic majority of Muslims. As Muslims, they are not minorities in Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan. As also, being the majority religion in these states, according to UN resolution referred above, we humans have a moral obligation to give chance for such refugees, to reclaim and characterize their rightful interests in their parent state.

Hence this Act is NOT partial to Muslims, on the contrary, it gives the world an example of an unprecedented Equal Basis to Muslims, at par with all other Religions, which can only be seen in India.

Viewpoint

Citizenship Acts is in force, in a majority of American, European, East European, Asian and African countries, in a similar manner as CAA 2019 of India, based on religion and ethnic grounds. Like all other countries, and ingoing with UN Resolution on Refugees, CAA is in conformity, respecting religions and ethnicity alike. It is especially giving an unprecedented equal footing to all Muslims from around the World, with Hindus, Christians amongst others and all.

However, Pakistan and ISI get a unique opportunity to brew a religious divide in Indian Society. It aims to put the National Government falsely in a bad light internationally while trying to fool the susceptible innocents of the society, Muslims and Non-Muslims alike.

21 Dec 19/Sarturday               Written by Fayaz