Islamabad hits back at Indian minister’s remarks about Pakistan being ‘epicentre’ of terror

Published January 4, 2023
Indian Minister of External Affairs S Jaishankar talking on the show ZIB 2 on Austria’s national broadcaster ORF on Jan 2. — ORF (tvthek.orf.at)
Indian Minister of External Affairs S Jaishankar talking on the show ZIB 2 on Austria’s national broadcaster ORF on Jan 2. — ORF (tvthek.orf.at)

The Foreign Office on Wednesday rejected remarks made by Indian Minister of External Affairs S. Jaishankar in which he indirectly referred to Pakistan as the “epicentre” of terrorism while on a tour to Austria.

Jaishankar made the remarks on Monday during a joint press conference with his Austrian counterpart Alexander Schallenberg while on a two-nation visit to Austria and Cyprus.

“Since the epicentre [of terrorism] is located so close to India, naturally, our experiences and insights are useful to others,” Jaishankar had said, after making a mention of “cross-border practises” of terrorism.

That same day, Jaishankar said that he “could use much harsher words [for Pakistan] than epicentre” during an interview on program ZIB 2 on Austria’s national broadcaster ORF, when the host remarked that the use of the word “epicentre […] doesn’t sound very diplomatic”.

He added: “Considering what has been happening to us, I think epicentre is a very diplomatic word.”

‘Latest tirade’

In a statement issued today, the Foreign Office rejected the “baseless and frivolous accusations” made by Jaishankar and called his “latest tirade […] a reflection of growing frustration over India’s failure to malign and isolate Pakistan”.

It demanded that the “malicious campaign” to mislead the international community through a fictitious narrative of victimhood and vile anti-Pakistan propaganda […] must stop“.

The FO asserted that “India should itself end its involvement in terrorism, subversion and espionage against Pakistan”, citing the dossier released in December 2022, which contained “irrefutable evidence” of India’s involvement in the 2021 Lahore terrorist attack.

The statement also criticised India for its “brazen involvement in fomenting terrorism on Pakistan’s soil” as well as for its “state-sponsored terrorism” in India-occupied Jammu and Kashmir, saying that its “anti-Pakistan diatribe” could not hide these actions.

The FO further recalled various incidents in which India is alleged to be involved: “The death of over 40 Pakistani nationals on Indian soil in the 2007 Samjhauta Express tragedy to the arrest of Kulbhushan Jadhav — a serving Commander of Indian Navy — from within Pakistan in 2016, the evidence of Indian involvement in terrorism and sabotage is irrefutable and spans over decades and geographies.”

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