Pakistan Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif, in an interview on Monday, termed Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi a “terrorist” and said the Indian government was being run by a “a terrorist party”.
Asif made the remarks in an appearance on Geo TV’s Capital Talkshow in response to Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj’s United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) speech, in which she had accused Pakistan of “producing and exporting terrorism”.
“Why is it today India is a recognised IT superpower in the world, and Pakistan is recognised only as the pre-eminent export factory for terror?” she had said at the assembly. “We produce scholars, doctors, engineers. What have you produced? You have produced terrorists,” she had accused.
Asif, while talking about the many Kashmiris who have been killed in India-held Kashmir and touching upon civilian casualties in cross-border firing along the Line of Control and the Working Boundary, recalled those allegations on Monday.
“A terrorist is their [India’s] prime minister at this time: one whose hands are stained with the blood of the Muslims of Gujarat,” he countered. “A terrorist party is ruling them [India] ─ the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) is ruling them. The Bharatiya Jannata Party (BJP) is like its subsidiary organisation,” he said.
“But Narendra Modi,” Hamid Mir, the show’s host, reminded Asif, “is an elected ‘terrorist’.”
“The nation that elects a terrorist… what kind of nation is that?” Asif retorted.
Explaining his stance, Asif said: “Look at the language the Indian prime minister is using, the way Muslims are being killed over cow-related issues. And just recently, on Dussehra, they burnt the effigies of Rohingya Muslims four times,” he claimed.
“In Dussehra, they burn the effigies of villains… They declared Rohingya Muslims terrorists,” he stressed, adding that although India was quick to call others terrorists, “The biggest terrorist [is Modi]. Muslims were raped and murdered under his supervision when he was chief minister [of Gujarat]. The US had banned him,” he reminded Mir.
The US had distanced itself from Modi after the 2002 riots in the state of Gujarat in which over 2,000 people, mostly Muslims, were killed. Washington denied him a visa after human rights groups accused him of not moving to halt the carnage, but in 2014, it lifted the ban.