ISLAMABAD: The Forei­­gn Office on Wednesday asked India to stop levelling bogus charges and end its support for terrorism in Pakistan.

“For last several years, India has engaged in a malicious campaign to mislead the international community through a fictitious narrative of victimhood and vile anti-Pakistan propaganda. This practice must stop,” Foreign Office Spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch said in a statement.

She was responding to a new tirade unleashed against Pakistan by Indian External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar during his visit to Vienna.

Mr Jaishankar, at a press conference with his Austrian counterpart Alexander Schallenberg, said: “Since the epicentre is located so close to India, naturally our experiences and insights are useful to others.”

Later in his media interviews, he defended calling Pakistan the “epicentre of terrorism” and said he could have used tougher words. “I could use much harsher words than epicentre. Considering what has been happening to us, epicentre is a very diplomatic world as this is a country which atta­cked our parliament some years ago,” the Indian external affairs minister had said.

It was not the first time that Mr Jaishankar hurled such accusation against Pakistan. He had in a press interaction after a meeting of the UN Security Council in December described Pakistan as “epicentre of terrorism”, prompting Forei­­gn Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari to remind him that “butcher of Gujarat” was the Indian prime minister.

The FO spokesperson, rejecting what she called “baseless and frivolous accusations”, said that Mr Jaishankar’s outburst was “a reflection of growing frustration” over India’s failure to malign and isolate Pakistan.

“When we speak about judgements and principles, why don’t I hear sharp Euro­pean condemnation of these practices that have been going on for decades?” Mr Jaishankar had then asked.

Ms Baloch said India would not be able to hide its “brazen involvement in fomenting terrorism on Pakistan’s soil” or cover up the state-sponsored terrorism in India-held Kashmir by levelling such allegations against Pakistan.

“Instead of pointing fingers at others, India should itself end its involvement in terrorism, subversion and espionage against Pakis­tan,” she said, recalling that Pakis­tan had a few weeks back unveiled a dossier containing “irrefutable evidence” of India’s involvement in the 2021 terrorist attack in Lahore.

“From the death of over 40 Pakistani nationals on Indian soil in the 2007 Sam­jhota 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,” she added.

Published in Dawn, January 5th, 2023

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