Friday September 29, 2023

India’s silence over BJP leader’s threat to Bilawal condemned

December 23, 2022

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan said on Thursday it continues to be concerned about the rise of extremist nationalism in India, especially regarding recent threats from members of the ruling BJP party who had called for the beheading of Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari.

“We are concerned about the rise of extremist nationalism in India and its expansionist designs for the region. We still await condemnation from the Indian leadership on the recent

call for violence and assassination by a BJP leader

from Bhagpat,” said the spokeswoman at the Foreign Office during the weekly presser.

To date, both Prime Minister Modi and his Foreign Minister Dr S Jaishankar have not condemned a local BJP leader in Uttar Pradesh who said he would give Rs2 crore reward to anyone beheading Bilawal.

The Foreign Office was expected to summon India’s charge d’affaires in response to this brazen attack on Pakistan’s foreign minister, but the Foreign Office has remained patient thus far.

Foreign Minister Bilawal appeared surprised and said: “The reaction in India to my speaking about historical facts (Muslims calling Modi Butcher of Gujarat) and reminding them of their past is a member of the ruling BJP putting a bounty on my head. It is an extreme reaction and underlines and reinforces the points I made at the UN.”

While The News understands that Pakistan’s Head of Mission Ubaidur Rehman Nizamani is expected to return to Kabul shortly, the spokeswoman said that “Pakistan is in constant touch with Afghanistan over resurgence in terror incidents and cross-border violence.”

Nizamani was called back to the headquarters for consultations after a terrorist tried to take him out while he was out for his daily walk inside the mission. His security guard took bullets in his chest and legs and is now recovering from his wounds.

“We have agreed to continue establishing institutional mechanisms with Afghanistan to prevent such incidents,” she said, in response to a question on the clashes between the security forces of Pakistan and Afghanistan in the Chaman-Spin Boldak area.

The spokesperson said Pakistan had reiterated to the Afghan authorities that protecting civilians was the responsibility of both sides.

“Pakistan remains committed to maintaining its fraternal relations with Afghanistan and ensuring peace is maintained,” she said.

She mentioned that Pakistan continued to engage with international players, including neighbouring Afghanistan, to ensure that the terrorism emanating from Afghan soil could not affect it.

She hoped that the Afghan authorities would work towards fulfilling the commitments made to Pakistan to not allow their territory to be used against its neighbour.

Asked if Pakistan was using China’s leverage to counter the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) in the backdrop of the country’s engagement with Afghanistan, she said Pakistan and China were close strategic partners.

“We consult each other on all matters of interest, including counter-terrorism and the situation in Afghanistan,” she said.

This week, US Secretary Blinken, in a telephone call to Foreign Minister Bilawal, also raised the issue of terrorism inside Afghanistan, offered condolences over the lives lost in recent terrorist attacks (on the Chaman-Spin Boldok border), and underscored the US’s unwavering support for Pakistan as it combats terrorism, the statement added.

The US State Department offered unconditional support to Pakistan in its battle against the TTP and similar groups, saying that defeating terrorism was a shared goal of both. The spokeswoman said last week that the Indian delegation once again politicised an international forum to project its agenda to target and malign Pakistan.

For the last several years, India has politicised the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) process to prevent Pakistan’s exit from the grey list. It is following a similar agenda at the UN Security Council.

“For a country that has a grandiose vision about itself and its place in the world, India has been unable to act as a responsible member of the international community that can assume new privileges that it aspires to,” she said.

She added that India masqueraded itself as a victim of terrorism, yet it is itself a perpetrator of repression in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir, and last week, the Indian delegation once again politicised an international forum.

Turning to IIOJK, the spokeswoman said that the occupation authorities are sealing properties owned by Kashmiris, including those dedicated to educational institutions offering free education to disadvantaged Kashmiris.

“A property owned by the late Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Gillani located in Barzulla Srinagar has also been designated for closure.

“You may recall that Syed Ali Gillani was not allowed a proper burial by the Indian occupation forces when he died in captivity last year.

“His family continues to be harassed for their contribution to the just struggle of Kashmiris to seek their inalienable right to self-determination,” she added.

This week, Pakistan will host two important dignitaries from Central Asia. On December 22–23, 2022, Serik Zhumangarin, Deputy Prime Minister for Trade and Integration of Kazakhstan, will lead a high-level delegation to the Pakistan-Kazakhstan Intergovernmental Joint Commission (IJC), an important mechanism to promote mutually beneficial cooperation.

The 11th session of the commission will be co-chaired by the Kazakh deputy prime minister and our Minister for Economic Affairs, Ayaz Sadiq. The meeting will focus on cooperation in trade and investment, agriculture, energy, transport and industry, science and technology, banking, higher education and tourism.

On December 26, 2022, Deputy Prime Minister for Trade and Investment of the Republic of Uzbekistan, Jamshid Khodjaev, will arrive in Islamabad for a two-day bilateral visit. He will lead a high-level delegation that will hold talks on a range of issues, including trade, investment, and connectivity.

“The visit is taking place following the important understandings reached between the president of Uzbekistan and the prime minister of Pakistan during their meetings held in September 2022 in Uzbekistan and in October 2022 in Kazakhstan,” said the spokeswoman.