Pakistan investigates desecration of Hindu temple as India protests

ISLAMABAD (AP) – Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry said on Friday that authorities were trying to track down and arrest suspects who this week desecrated a Hindu temple located in a house in the port city of Karachi, drawing conviction from New Delhi.

In a statement, the ministry said investigations were still ongoing, and those who attacked the temple on Wednesday before fleeing the site “will not escape justice and the government will deal with them with the full force of the law.”

The ministry’s assurance came a day after New Delhi condemned the incident.

In a statement, Arindam Bagchi, a spokesperson for India’s Foreign Ministry, expressed concern on Thursday over the vandalizing of the temple, saying it was “another act in the systematic persecution of religious minorities” in Pakistan.

However, Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs rejected Bagchi’s claim of systematic persecution, saying such violence was taking place against Muslim minorities in India.

Anger has been building in Pakistan against India since last week, when two spokespersons for India’s Bharatiya Janata party made remarks seen as insulting to the Prophet of Islam and his wife Aisha. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s party has suspended one official and expelled the other, saying it rejects insulting religious figures.

On Friday, thousands of Islamists gathered in Lahore and Karachi to protest the comments.

Pakistan and India have a history of bitter relations. Since gaining independence from British colonial rule in 1947, nuclear-armed nations have fought two of their three wars over the disputed Kashmir region of the Himalayas, divided between them but claimed by both in its entirety.

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