Foreign Minister (FM) Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari slammed Indian Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi in response to his Indian counterpart Subrahmanyam Jaishankar’s accusations about Pakistan perpetuating terrorism and sheltering 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),” said Bilawal at a press conference in New York on Thursday.

“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.

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“In India, who perpetuates terrorism? Is it Pakistan? Ask the people of Gujrat; they will say it is their prime minister. Ask the people of Kashmir; they will say the butcher of Gujrat is now the butcher of Kashmir. I am not talking about some imaginary past; I am talking about today. They are not even attempting to wash the blood of the people of Gujrat from their hands for their own election campaign. Prime Minister Modi and his government have used their power to pardon the men who raped Muslims in Gujrat. The prime minister of India freed those rapists and terrorists.”

“The Indian government does not believe in Gandhi’s ideology, but rather in the doctrines of his assassin,” said Bilawal.

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Jaishankar remarks on Pakistan came after State Minister Hina Rabbani Khar said that India is a “rogue state” that projects itself as greatest victim of terrorism but is the perpetrator of it. Jaishankr said that Khar’s remarks reminded him of the then US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s visit to Islamabad more than a decade ago when she reminded Pakistan that “if you have snakes in your backyard, you cannot expect them to bite only your neighbours”.

He claimed that Pakistan was “not great at listening to good advice … and now look what’s happening there. Today, it’s the epicentre of terrorism … and has its fingerprints over a lot of activities in the region and beyond”.

Urging Pakistan not to blame others, the Indian minister asked: “How long Pakistan intends to practice [terrorism] and hide it by taking that debate elsewhere? Please clean up your act. Please try to be a good neighbour.”

“We have lost far more lives to terrorism than India did,” said Bhutto-Zardari while pointing out that “India has been playing in the space” that has made it “very easy” to bracket Muslims with terrorism. “India has very skilfully blurred this line, making like us all are terrorists who are actually victims.”

The Pakistani foreign minister noted that India has continuously perpetuated this philosophy, not just for Pakistan but Muslims in India too.

The foreign minister said that Pakistan is proud of its achievements in the war against terrorism, as the country has taken concrete steps in connection with the National Action Plan for counterterrorism.

He said that the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) endorsed Pakistan’s measures taken to stem terror financing. Bilawal also said that it is wrong to blame the Muslim world for terrorism as terrorism doesn’t belong to any religion or region.

He pointed out that terrorism has mainly targeted Muslims since 2001. Also, there were incidents where Chinese citizens were targeted in Karachi, he said.

Highlighting the post-flood situation in Pakistan, the foreign minister said some areas of Balochistan and Sindh are still waterlogged. The massive flooding adversely impacted health, education and basic infrastructure.

Assistance from the international community is crucial for Pakistan in coping with the challenge of rehabilitation and reconstruction of the victims, he asserted.