External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Wednesday, 13 March, lashed out at Pakistan and Prime Minister Imran Khan, saying that if the latter were so generous, he should hand over Jaish-e-Mohammed founder and terrorist Masood Azhar to India.
“If Imran Khan (Pakistan prime minister) is so generous and a statesman, he should give us Masood Azhar,” she said.
Swaraj was speaking at a conference in New Delhi on Wednesday, at the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, which took place prior to China blocking India’s move at the UN to designate Masood Azhar as a terrorist.
Terror and Talks Cannot Go Together: Swaraj
Swaraj pointed out that the JeM had claimed responsibility for the Pulwama attack and that Pakistan had said that Masood Azhar was in the country but was too unwell to leave his house. However, Pakistan had later changed its statement, first saying that Azhar was not in the country and that JeM had never even claimed responsibility for the attack in Pulwama.
She said that Pakistan needed to stop lying about the terrorists and accept responsibility, saying that no dialogue with Pakistan would take place unless the country takes strong action against the terror outfits on its soil. Relations would improve only if they stopped terrorist activities on Indian soil, she said.
“We do not want talk on terror, we want action on it. Terror and talks cannot go together,” she said.
Questioning Pakistan’s Retaliation to Balakot
At the conference, Swaraj questioned Pakistan's retaliation to the Indian air strikes in Balakot when, she said, India had specifically targeted the terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM).
She said that the Indian Air Force, as per the mandate of the air strike, had only hit out at the terrorists and had not killed any civilian or injured any military personnel. She questioned why the Pakistani military had taken action against India the very next day when none of their people had come under attack.
“Why did the Pakistani military attack us on behalf of JeM? You not only keep JeM on your soil, but fund them and when the victim country retaliates, you attack it on the terror outfit’s behalf”, she said.
She also added that Pakistan needs to control the ISI and its army who seem to be bent on destroying the bilateral relations.
(With inputs from PTI.)
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