New Delhi, 31 March. Pakistan has asked India to hand over the historic residence of Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah in Mumbai after a lawmaker of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) called for demolition of the iconic building.
According to a report published in THE EXPRESS TRIBUNE (PAKISTAN) Addressing the Indian Legislative Assembly on budgetary demands, MLA Mangal Prabhat Lodha last Monday said, “The Jinnah residence in south Mumbai was the place from where the conspiracy of the Partition was hatched.”
“The Jinnah House is a symbol of the Partition. The structure should be demolished,” he added. According to Lodha, India’s Public Works Department (PWD) pays hundreds and thousands of rupees for the property’s upkeep and maintenance.
His controversial statement went viral on social media triggering a heated debate both in Pakistan and India.
According to THE EXPRESS TRIBUNE (PAKISTAN) Reacting to what many in Pakistan consider as an ‘absurd’ demand, the Foreign Office spokesperson here on Thursday made it clear that the Jinnah House in Mumbai was a property of Pakistan’s founding father and hence the historic building should be handed over to Pakistan.
“The Jinnah House in Mumbai was the residence with ownership of the father of the nation, Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah,”
Nafees Zakria said at a weekly news briefing.
Zakria said Pakistan had repeatedly expressed its desire to take possession of the property. “The government of India should respect the ownership rights of the government of Pakistan in this regard. We also expect that the Indian government will fulfil its obligation of protecting that property and its upkeep,” he added.
The spokesperson said Pakistan had already taken up the issue with Indian authorities, and it was an ongoing matter.
“The property belongs to the founder of Pakistan and should be given to Pakistan. On various occasions, the Indian government has promised to hand over the property to the government of Pakistan but have not fulfilled their commitment as yet,”
In response to a question, the spokesperson said Pakistan was already part of the 39-national Saudi-led military alliance.
About the controversy over the recent disclosures by Pakistan’s former ambassador to the US Husain Haqqani, the spokesperson said any diplomat serving or non-serving, had no diplomatic immunity within his or her country.
“The country’s visa policy is made by the interior ministry. Any question related to Hussain Haqqani and visa policies should be directed towards the interior ministry,”
He, however, refused to offer any comments on contents of the article written by Haqqani in which he admitted that how he with the approval of then civilian government facilitated the issuance of visas of scores of US special forces and CIA agents.
Reacting to the ongoing incident of violence against minorities in India, Zakria termed the Indian treatment of its Christians, Muslims and other minorities deplorable.
“It is happening as the Indian government in New Delhi stands back and watches. The international community needs to take notice of extremely vitriolic statements by those in power in India, like CM Yogi Aditynath,”
the spokesperson demanded.
He said there were reports by International Institutions expressing deep concern over persecution of religious minorities in India by elements with official backing. “The genocide of Muslims in Gujarat during 2002 is still fresh in people’s minds.”
The spokesperson condemned the continued
“bloodshed of innocent and defenceless Kashmiris” in Indian occupied Kashmir. “To suppress the Kashmiris’ right to self-determination, India is using brutal force and has embarked on a killing spree of Kashmiris.”
His strong reaction came just days after four Kashmiris, including three teenagers, were killed by Indian security forces in the disputed territory.
“In a most despicable act, the Indian occupation forces even opened live ammunition fire on those offering funeral prayers of the martyred. This killing and injuries to the Kashmiris is in addition to over 150 they have killed since 8 July and over 20,000 they injured,”
He said this all happened at a time when the OIC’s Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission (IPHRC) was visiting AJK to gather personal account of those Kashmiris who suffered from Indian brutalities in IOK. Members of IPHRC have taken note of the grave situation of human rights violations in IOK.