India has hit out at the new Imran Khan government in Pakistan for forcing Princeton University economist and Atif Mian to resign from the country’s newly-constituted Economic Advisory Council under the pressure of Muslim clerics and their supporters, merely because he belongs to the minority Ahmadi community.

‘’The extent to which fundamentalism has been mainstreamed in Pakistan is evident from the fact that a member of the economic advisory council was asked to step down by the new government only because of his Ahmadi faith,’’ Indian diplomat Mini Devi Kumam said in India’s ‘Right of Reply’ to Pakistan’s statement earlier at the UN Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva.

She said it was ironical that a country whose foundation was laid on religious fundamentalism continued to speak about communal disharmony and religious intolerance. ‘’In its obsession with puritanism, it (Pakistan) has unleashed systematic persecution against its own Muslim minorities including Shias, Ahmadiyas, Ismailia and Hazaras, who have been reduced to second-class citizens,’’ she added.

The Indian official said Pakistan had the ‘dubious distinction’ of having more cases of persecution under Blasphemy laws than the rest of the world put together. Abductions, forced conversions and marriages of minority – Hindu, Sikh and Christian – women, including girls, were routinely carried out in Pakistan.

Kumam rejected references to Jammu and Kashmir made by Pakistan at the council’s meet and deplored Islamabad’s ‘repeated and malicious propaganda’ to distract the world from its gross violation of human rights especially in the territories under its control.

The council, she said, must note that concerns had been raised by the international community on the absence of constitutional and civil rights of the people of Gilgit-Baltistan and their sufferings due to deliberate economic policies causing extreme poverty, gross underdevelopment and economic hardships. Large scale repression, enforced disappearances and extra-judicial killings continue with impunity in Sindh, Baluchistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Pakistan Occupied Kashmir.