• Sat. Jan 28th, 2023

FM Bilawal stands by comment against Modi, says it’s ‘historical fact’

Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari (left) and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. — AFP/File
Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari (left) and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. — AFP/File

WASHINGTON DC: Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari stood by his recent remarks against Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and said that he was only “referring to historical reality”.

In an interview to Bloomberg, the foreign minister, when asked about his recent remarks about the Indian PM, said that he had only repeated a proven historic fact. He said that it was not him who had coined the term “butcher of Gujrat” for Modi, but the people of Gujrat and he was only referring to a historical fact.

The FM reached Washington DC on Tuesday, where he met with members of the US Congress to discuss Pak-US relations.

He said that Indian Muslims, especially in Gujrat, face violence under the Modi government. 

He then decried a member of the Indian ruling party who announced a reward worth INR20 million for beheading him over his remarks.

“If I’m quoting somebody else, and referring to a historical fact that Modi would prefer we forget about, the response shouldn’t be a threat of assassination,” Bilawal said, adding that this crossed a line that we should not normalise.

In a press talk on December 16, the foreign minister said that Osama Bin Laden had died, but the butcher of Gujarat — Narendra Modi — is still alive and has become the prime minister of India.

Indian media had reported that BJP leader Manupal Hansal had announced bounty of Indian rupees 20 million on Bilawal’s head following the comment.

The FM further said in the interview that Pakistan needs the international community’s support to overcome challenges posed by unprecedented floods. He added that the Russia-Ukraine conflict has also affected the region’s economic situation.

He said that the global community would have to ensure food safety amid war and global recession. He added that they had just agreed to IMF’s strict terms just before the flooding started and now they are finding themselves in an incredibly difficult position. The Pakistan government is struggling to provide imminent relief to flood-affected people while fulfilling the terms of the IMF.

On a question about early elections in Pakistan, the foreign minister said that they are not in the country’s favour. “Imran Khan is damaging the country with his pointless ‘tantrum’ just because he is not the prime minister anymore,” he said.

Pakistan’s top diplomat added that at a time when one-third of the country is affected by floods, they should not be thinking about elections.

In Washington, the foreign minister also attended an honourary dinner arranged at the residence of Pakistan’s Ambassador to the US. The minister met with leaders of the Pakistani-American community and appreciated their support in the development of the country.

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