ISLAMABAD: The Foreign Office on Thursday rejected Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s latest assertion on the so-called surgical strike of September 2016 telling New Delhi that repeating lies did not make them true.
FO spokesman Dr Muhammad Faisal, speaking at the weekly media briefing, said: “Constant repetition of a fallacious claim does not make it real. The Indian government is increasingly sounding like a broken record.”
He said that the Indian claim of surgical strike had already been rejected by Pakistan as a figment of imagination.
India had in September 2016 claimed to have carried out a surgical strike on suspected terrorist targets across the Line of Control in Azad Kashmir. The claim was made days after four terrorists attacked a military camp near Uri in India-held Kashmir killing around 19 soldiers.
Says repeating lies doesn’t make them true
The claim was followed by an exchange of barbs by both sides.
Mr Modi, who is currently visiting the UK, attempted to reignite the controversy while speaking to Indian diaspora by claiming how the Indian army tried to contact their Pakistani counterparts after the alleged strike to inform them about the attack.
“I said before India gets to know, we should call Pakistan and tell them what we did so they can come and collect the dead bodies if they have time. We were calling them since 11am but they were scared to answer the phone. At 12 we spoke to them and then told the Indian media,” Mr Modi was quoted by Indian media as having said.
The Indian prime minister made the statement as protests over Kathua and Unnao rape incidents expanded in India and demonstrations were held against him in Britain as well during his trip.
“The widespread protests against the complete failure of the Indian government to bring the perpetrators to justice, especially when the government is complicit in such incidents, have exposed the deepening fissures in Indian society and the government. This criticism is not confined to India but has spread to the whole world, including the UK and Sweden,” Dr Faisal said.
He also spoke about the atrocities of Indian occupation forces in held Kashmir.
“We have repeatedly seen attempts in India to externalise internal problems or dragging in Pakistan for electoral gains. Baseless Indian allegations are just sad political gimmickry, an absurd attempt to put on a show to divert attention from such heinous incidents and its (India’s) abject failure,” the spokesman added.
Mr Modi had in his speech said that Pakistan had put up a “terror export factory in place, attacks my people, has no power to fight a war so attempts to attack behind the back... in such a case Modi knows how give a reply in the same language”.
Dr Faisal, responding to the allegations, said: “History is replete with instances of Pakistan being back-stabbed by India, rather than the other way around.”
Captured Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav, who is on death row, was the “living proof of who exports terror”, he said.
The spokesman said the US administration had notified Pakistan about the travel restrictions on Pakistani diplomats in the United States that would take effect from May 1.
He said it was a reciprocal matter. “Both sides are in touch and we are hopeful that the matter will be resolved. We have nothing more to add to this at the moment,” he maintained.
Published in Dawn, April 20th, 2018