As the Bharatiya Janata party held protests across the country against Pakistan foreign minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari on Saturday, the Pak minister said he is not scared of Prime Minister Narendra Modi or the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).
The BJP staged a protest in various states and burnt an effigy of Bhutto against his remarks. “If the purpose of these protests was to scare Pakistan, it would not work. We are not afraid of RSS. We are not afraid of Modi. We are not afraid of the BJP. If they want to protest, they should,” Zardari said, as quoted by the Pakistan-based newspaper Dawn.
Addressing the Pakistani media in New York, the minister said, “The history is a witness to the role the current Indian prime minister played in Gujarat. No matter how hard the BJP or RSS protests, they cannot distort history,”
The Pakistan foreign minister targeted PM Modi at a news conference inside the UN last week and slammed the RSS after external affairs minister S Jaishankar’s highlighted Pakistan’s support to various terror groups and described the country as the “epicentre of terrorism”.
Responding to the comments, External affairs ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi on Friday said that the Pakistan foreign minister’s “frustration” would be better directed towards the masterminds of terrorist enterprises in his own country that has made terrorism a part of its “state policy”.
“Pakistan is a country that glorifies Osama bin Laden as a martyr, and shelters terrorists like (Zakiur Rehman) Lakhvi, Hafiz Saeed, Masood Azhar, Sajid Mir and Dawood Ibrahim. No other country can boast of having 126 UN-designated terrorists and 27 UN-designated terrorist entities,” Bagchi said.
Bagchi said the Pakistan foreign minister’s “uncivilised outburst” seemed to be a result of Pakistan’s increasing inability to use terrorists and their “proxies”.
Last week, Jaishankar told the UN Security Council that the “contemporary epicentre of terrorism” remains very much active and called for collective action to tackle them. Though Jaishankar did not name any countries, it was apparent that he was making a veiled reference to Pakistan.
Later, he told reporters that the world sees Pakistan as the epicenter of terrorism and recalled US leader Hillary Clinton’s blunt message to Islamabad in 2011 that snakes in one’s backyard will eventually bite those who keep them.