Pakistan’s Foreign Office on Monday deplored a so-called “public notice” issued by the University Grants Commission of India and the All India Council for Technical Education, slamming its “threatening” tone in advising students against seeking higher education in Pakistan.
The notice, issued last week by India’s two education regulators, advises Indian citizens against traveling to Pakistan for higher education and suggests that if they choose to do so, they would not be eligible for further studies or employment in their homeland. “However, migrants and their children who have acquired higher education degree in Pakistan and have been awarded citizenship by India would be eligible for seeking employment in India after obtaining Security Clearance from [the Ministry of Home Affairs],” it added. This is the second advisory issued by India discouraging higher education abroad; the first had targeted China.
In its rejoinder, the Foreign Office said the tone of the “public notice” was not only threatening toward students, but also reeked of tyrannical authoritarianism. “It is regrettable that, driven by its incurable obsession with Pakistan, India is unabashedly coercing students in order to deter them from pursuing quality education of their choice,” it said.
The statement stressed that the move had further exposed the BJP-RSS combine’s deep-seated ideological animus and chronic hostility toward Pakistan, adding that it was deplorable that the Indian government’s “Hindu Rashtra” mission was now seeking to discourage foreign education to stoke hyper-nationalism in the country. It said Pakistan had sought clarification from the Indian government on the contents of the “public notice,” adding that Islamabad reserved the right to take appropriate measures in response to this openly discriminatory and inexplicable action.
In a separate statement issued a day earlier, Pakistan categorically rejected “malicious Indian propaganda regarding the alleged use of the Kartarpur Corridor for business meetings.”
The Foreign Office said “it is obvious that this concoction is part of India’s deliberate smear campaign seeking to undermine Pakistan’s historic initiative of opening the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor for Sikh pilgrims from India and around the world.” Noting that this was “nothing new,” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs claimed it was part of a “desperate bid” to malign the corridor of peace and divert the world’s attention away from the grave injustices being done to minorities, especially Muslims, in India.
“Pakistan accords the highest primacy to the rights of the minorities. Sanctity of religious places and revered sites of every community is ensured in Pakistan,” it said, adding that Pakistan had recently hosted over 2,000 Indian Sikh pilgrims for participation in the annual Baisakhi festival from April 12-21.
“The Sikh community around the world has remained appreciative of Pakistan’s commitment to inclusivity, diversity and promotion of religious harmony,” it said and advised New Delhi to desist from “casting fallacious aspersions on the Kartarpur Corridor.”