‘Bin Laden is dead, but Butcher of Gujarat rules India’

FM Bilawal Bhutto Zardari says they can't give up on engaging with Afghanistan
<p>Pakistan Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari</p>

Pakistan Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari

Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari on Thursday submitted a dossier on India’s involvement in terrorism in Pakistan and called on the international community to support action against them.

Addressing a press conference in New York on the sidelines of chairing the G-77 summit, Bilawal raised the state terrorism being perpetrated by India as it cleverly hid behind the trend of blaming Muslims for terrorism.

He added that they had requested the listing of four individuals for international sanctions for perpetrating terrorism.

India and terrorism

On Indian accusations against Pakistan of fomenting terrorism in India, Bilawal said that Pakistan had lost far more lives to terrorism than India has as he pointed to his personal loss and that of the ruling coalition partner Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N)

“India has been playing in that space where it was very easy to say Muslims and terrorists together,” he said.

On terrorism in India, Bilawal acknowledged that there had been terror attacks within the territory of Pakistan’s eastern neighbour.

“They should not have faced terror attacks, and we have always offered cooperation in tracking those responsible,” he said as he questioned who were the real perpetrators of terrorism in India.

“They [India] continuously perpetuate this philosophy against Muslims, inside and outside India,” he said.

“Osama bin Laden is dead, but the butcher of Gujarat lives on and is today the prime minister of India,” he said.

Pointing to the inauguration of a statue of Gandhi by the Indian External Affairs Minister in New York the other day, Bilawal said that Indian right-wing nationalist Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) – which has deep ties to the current Indian administration, does not believe in Mohandas Karamchand ‘Mahatma’ Gandhi.

“They do not believe in Gandhi’s policies, values or manifesto,” he said.

“They hero-worship the terrorist who killed Gandhi,” he said.

“Who perpetrates terrorism in India,” he asked, adding, “It is not Pakistan; it is the butcher of Gujarat who is today the butcher of Kashmir.”

“Modi and his govt pardoned the men who perpetrated the gang rape of Muslim women in Gujarat,” he said, adding that terrorists were set free by the Modi regime.

Their transition from a secular India to a Hindu supremacist India, this is very important to them, Bilawal said.

Pointing to the dossier, he said that Pakistan has proof that the Indian government facilitated terror attacks in Pakistan.

“I do not see Pakistan as epicenter of terrorism but a victim of terrorism,” he said.

Tackling Afghanistan

Bilawal had a different view of how Pakistan would tackle Afghanistan, which has stepped back from fulfilling its promises.

Reiterating that Pakistan, the first Muslim country to elect a Muslim woman as the prime minister, will not compromise women’s rights.

“But I also want to be practical,” he said, explaining that the world needs to be more sensitive and appreciative of the dire situation in Afghanistan.

“People say there is child marriage in Afghanistan. I say there is child marriage in Afghanistan because families can no longer afford to feed their children and hope that after they are married their children will be taken care of,” he explained.

“We cannot starve Afghanistan and force them to give rights to their women,” he said.

I think history has demonstrated that autocratic or theocratic regimes, when times are tough, human rights are contracted, not expanded,“ he pointed out, noting that this was a chicken and egg problem that needed to be resolved by unfreezing Afghanistan’s money.

“Their entire banking system is frozen. It is really cruel,” he explained.

He added that he was hopeful that with further engagement, they would be able to convince Kabul to implement their promises.

Attacks from Afghanistan

On the attacks from Afghanistan, including on the head of mission in Kabul, Bilawal said that the diplomat was due to return to Pakistan for several meetings and briefings and that he would return once the security assurances are fulfilled and other issues are ironed out in due course of time.