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Explained: The Nehru-Liaquat Agreement of 1950, referred to in the CAB debate

Home Minister Amit Shah has said that following the signing of the pact, while India protected its minorities, Pakistan failed to do so — and it was this wrong that the Citizenship Amendment Bill would now correct.

By: Explained Desk | New Delhi | Updated: December 12, 2019 11:30:03 am
Explained: What was the Nehru-Liaquat Agreement of 1950, referred to in the CAB debate? The Nehru-Liaquat Pact, also known as the Delhi Pact, was signed in 1950.

The debate on The Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) in Parliament included multiple references to the Nehru-Liaquat Pact that was signed in Delhi in 1950. Home Minister Amit Shah has said that following the signing of the pact, while India protected its minorities, Pakistan failed to do so — and it was this wrong that the CAB would now correct.

At the time the pact, officially the Agreement Between the Governments of India and Pakistan Regarding Security and Rights of Minorities, was signed on April 8, 1950, Jawaharlal Nehru and Liaquat Ali Khan were the Prime Ministers of India and Pakistan.

Explained: Why was the Nehru-Liaquat pact signed?

The Nehru-Liaquat Pact, also known as the Delhi Pact, was a bilateral agreement signed between India and Pakistan in order to provide a framework for the treatment of minorities in the two countries.

The need for such a pact was felt by minorities in both countries following Partition, which was accompanied by massive communal rioting. In 1950, as per some estimates, over a million Hindus and Muslims migrated from and to East Pakistan (present day Bangladesh), amid communal tension and riots such as the 1950 East Pakistan riots and the Noakhali riots.

What did India and Pakistan agree upon?

“The Governments of India and Pakistan solemnly agree that each shall ensure, to the minorities throughout its territory, complete equality of citizenship, irrespective of religion, a full sense of security in respect of life, culture, property and personal honour, freedom of movement within each country and freedom of occupation, speech and worship, subject to law and morality,” the text of the Pact begins.

“Members of the minorities shall have equal opportunity with members of the majority community to participate in the public life of their country, to hold political or other office, and to serve in their country’s civil and armed forces. Both Governments declare these rights to be fundamental and undertake to enforce them effectively,” it said.

It noted that “The Prime Minister of India has drawn attention to the fact that these rights are guaranteed to all minorities in India by its Constitution”, and that “The Prime Minister of Pakistan has pointed out that similar provision exists in the Objectives Resolution adopted by the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan”.

Also, “Both Governments wish to emphasise that the allegiance and loyalty of the minorities is to the State of which they are citizens, and that it is to the Government of their own State that they should look for the redress of their grievances.”

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