‘A reflection of growing frustration’: Pakistan rejects India’s criticism of FM Bilawal’s Modi remarks
The Foreign Office (FO) on Saturday rejected the statement issued by the Indian Ministry of External Affairs on Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari’s remarks about Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, calling it a “reflection of India’s growing frustration”.
On Thursday, FM Bilawal had described Modi as the “butcher of Gujarat” while responding to his Indian counterpart Subrahmanyam Jaishankar at the United Nations after he accused Pakistan of perpetuating terrorism and sheltering al-Qaeda honcho 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),” Bilawal had said.
“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.
Subsequently, in a statement issued yesterday, 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”.
Separately, furious BJP workers led a march to the Pakistani High Commission in New Delhi. Today, BJP workers held anti-Bilawal protests in other parts of India.
Retorting to the statement today, FO Spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch said: “The Indian government has tried to hide behind subterfuge and canard to conceal the realities of the 2002 Gujarat massacre.
“It is a shameful story of mass killings, lynching, rape and plunder. The fact of the matter is that the masterminds of the Gujarat massacre have escaped justice and now hold key government positions in India,” she said in a statement.
Baloch stressed that no verbosity could hide the crimes of the “Saffron terrorists” in India. “Hindutva, the political ideology of the ruling party, has given rise to a climate of hate, divisiveness and impunity.”
She went on to say that the culture of impunity was “deeply embedded” in the Hindutva-driven polity in India.
“The acquittal of the mastermind and perpetrators of the heinous attack on Delhi-Lahore Samjhota Express, that killed 40 Pakistani nationals on Indian soil, demonstrates the massacre of justice under the RSS-BJP dispensation.”
The FO spokesperson said intimidation and demonisation of religious minorities received official patronage in states across India.
Hindutva supremacists have been unleashed to exercise cow vigilantism, ransack places of worship, and attack religious congregations, she added.
Baloch pointed out that while India peddled a “fictitious narrative of victimhood”, the country itself was a “perpetrator of repression in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir and a sponsor and financier of terrorist groups in South Asia”.
“Only this week, a dossier was released containing irrefutable evidence that substantiated India’s involvement in the 2021 terrorist attack in a peaceful Lahore neighbourhood. The evidence gathered with international support confirms that the Lahore attack was instigated, planned and financed by the Indian state,” she said.
India’s statement on Friday, the FO spokesperson continued, was also a reflection of India’s growing frustration over its failure in maligning and isolating Pakistan.
“After being unable to prevent Pakistan’s exit from the FATF (Financial Action Task Force) Grey List in October and international recognition of Pakistan’s counterterrorism efforts, India is desperately using international platforms to advance its agenda to defame and target Pakistan.”
She added that for a country with a “grandiose vision about itself and its place in the world”, India was following a policy of pettiness towards its neighbours.
“We are confident that the international community would look through this facade and the dream of RSS-BJP to turn South Asia in its image will remain unrealised,” Baloch concluded in the statement.
As protests continued for a second day, the Pakistan Peoples Party also called out the BJP, saying his remarks “exposed Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi before the world”.
The reaction from the PPP comes in the wake of fresh rallies taken out by BJP activists in different parts of Maharashtra against the minister’s remarks.
However, in the latest development, the BJP activists took out a rally against Pakistan at Tilak Chowk, Maharashtra on Saturday, The Times of India reported.
They also “set fire to Pakistani flags and shouted anti-Pakistan slogans”.
“We will not tolerate any criticism of our prime minister. PM Narendra Modi is the one who is working tirelessly to save our Hindu religion, and Pakistan is blind to it. This is why they make such claims,” the report quoted the protesters as saying.
Reacting to the protests, the PPP spokesperson issued a statement, condemning BJP’s protests over the remarks.
“PPP Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has exposed the real face of Modi in front of the world,” the spokesperson said.