Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari on Thursday said although Osama bin Laden was dead, the butcher of Gujarat was the Prime Minister of India.

“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],” Bilawal told a UN briefing room

He was responding to Indian External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar who had just minutes earlier accused Pakistan of harbouring terrorism and housing Osama bin Laden.

The foreign minister added: “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.

A journalist asked Bilawal why the Indian and Pakistani foreign ministers were engaged in a war of words, to which his reply was, “This is not in a war of words. I have not noticed.”

He also added that he was a victim of terrorism as his mother was killed by terrorists along with thousands of other Pakistanis.

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

India had continuously perpetuated this philosophy, not just for Pakistani but Muslims in India too, he stressed.

Bilawal is in New York to host and chair a special ministerial meeting of the G-77 and China at the United Nations Headquarters on December 15 and 16.

The agenda of the conference includes a discussion on multiple challenges facing the developing countries in attaining sustainable development goals (SDGs) in the face of Covid-19 pandemic, climate-induced disasters and geopolitical developments.

On the other hand, Jaishankar repeated his allegations of hosting Osama as he addressed media at the UN and also responded to the remarks Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar made in Islamabad on Wednesday, calling India the biggest perpetrator of terrorism.

The Indian external affairs minister said 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”.

Jaishankar 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.”

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