BJP workers incensed by FM Bilawal's remarks on Modi protest outside Pakistan embassy in Delhi: report

Published December 16, 2022
BJP workers protesting near the Pakistan embassy in New Delhi. — Photo courtesy: India Today
BJP workers protesting near the Pakistan embassy in New Delhi. — Photo courtesy: India Today

Workers from India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Friday staged a protest against Pakistan near the country’s High Commission in New Delhi over Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari’s remarks about Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, according to Indian media reports.

A day earlier, FM Bilawal had responded to his Indian counterpart during a briefing at the United Nations after the latter accused Pakistan of perpetuating terrorism and sheltering Osama bin Laden.

“I would like to remind Mr Jaishankar that Osama bin Laden is dead, but the butcher of Gujarat lives, and he is the prime minister (of India),” the Pakistani foreign minister said while responding to Indian Minister of Foreign Affairs S. Jaishankar’s remarks.

“He (Narendra Modi) was banned from entering this country (the United States). These are the prime minister and foreign minister of RSS, which draws inspiration from Hitler’s SS,” he added.

In a report published today, India Today said the protesters carried placards and chanted raised slogans of “Pakistan hay hay” and “Bilawal Bhutto maafi maango” slogans.

“The Delhi police put up barricades to stop the BJP workers from marching towards the Pakistan embassy. However, the protesters broke through the first round of barricades and began marching towards the embassy,” the report said.

The publication said that police stopped the protesters at the second line of barricades put up in Chanakyapuri area. “Water canons have also been placed here. Some BJP workers were also detained by the police,” the report added.

Separately, the Indian government heavily criticised Bilawal’s remarks. According to NDTV, the Indian foreign ministry said that Pakistan “lacked the credentials to cast aspersions at India”.

Bilawal, Jaishankar go head-to-head

Minutes before FM Bilawal’s briefing on Thursday, Jaishankar had addressed the media at a UN stakeout site, repeating the allegations he made inside the UN Security Council on Wednesday, where he accused Pakistan of “hosting Osama bin Laden”.

Jaishankar also responded to the remarks Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar made in Islamabad on Wednesday, calling India “the biggest perpetrator of terrorism”.

Jaishankar said that Khar’s remarks reminded him of the then-US secretary of state Hillary Clinton’s visit to Islamabad more than a decade ago when she reminded Pakistan that “if you have snakes in your backyard, you cannot expect them to bite only your neighbours”.

He claimed that Pakistan was “not great at listening to good advice … and now look what’s happening there. Today, it’s the epicentre of terrorism … and has its fingerprints over a lot of activities in the region and beyond”.

Urging Pakistan not to blame others, the Indian minister asked: “How long Pakistan intends to practice [terrorism] and hide it by taking that debate elsewhere? Please clean up your act. Please try to be a good neighbour.”

At Bilawal’s briefing, a journalist asked him why the Indian and Pakistani foreign ministers were engaged in a war of words.

“This is not in a war of words. I have not noticed,” the foreign minister said, adding that he was a victim of terrorism as his mother was killed by terrorists along with thousands of other Pakistanis.

“We have lost far more lives to terrorism than India did,” said FM Bilawal, while pointing out that “India has been playing in the space” that has made it “very easy” to bracket Muslims with terrorism.

The Pakistani foreign minister noted that India has continuously perpetuated this philosophy, not just for Pakistan but Muslims in India too.

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