The BJP on Saturday criticised visiting Pakistani Interior Minister Rehman Malik’s controversial statement equating the Babri Masjid demolition with the 26/11 terror attacks, and termed it as very “unfortunate” and “provocative”.
“Its strange and unfortunate that the Pakistani Minister with just the commencement visit, seen to be commenting on the cross border terrorism emanating from Pakistan, and in the same breath speaking in terms of domestic developments in India,” said senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley while addressing the media here.
“Those comments are completely unfortunate, uncalled for and should really had been rebutted by the Indian ministers present there,” he added.
Mr. Malik, on his arrival in New Delhi on Friday, for the operationalisation of the liberalised visa agreement between India and Pakistan, had told reporters, “We do not want any 9/11. We do not want any Bombay blasts, we do not want any Samjhauta Express, we do not want any Babri mosque issue and we can work together not only for peace in Pakistan and India but also for the region.”
Expressing displeasure over the comment, Mr. Jaitley said “BJP has noticed, with some sense of concern the statement of the visiting minister from Pakistan.”
“Ordinarily we observe a discipline that we don’t comment on a visit of a foreign dignitary when the visit is on. However during a visit something which is very provocative is said, particularly when it goes unrebutted by the Indian Ministers present, a response is required and therefore we are constrained to make it,” he said.
Touching upon the agenda of the proposed meeting, Mr. Jaitley said, “It was broadly understood that the Pakistan will let the Indian Government know that the steps it is taking in relation to those guilty in 26/11, the expedition of trial in Pakistan, bringing people like Hafeez Saeed to book, giving of voice samples of those who were handlers… these were really the issues.”
“Its regrettable that it went unchallenged, particularly when comments have come from a representative of a nation which has a dismal track record in relation to its own religious and ethnic minority and their rights,” he added.
Mr. Jaitley also took a dig at Pakistan’s Interior Minister over his comments on the issue of the torture of Kargil hero Captain Saurabh Kalia by the Pakistani Army.
“He was not expected to speculate on the issue of Major Kalia,” he said.
“I have not examined the case. It has just come to my notice.... when a fight is going on in the border, we really don’t know whether he died of a Pak bullet or he died of weather?,” Mr. Malik had said on Friday, stirring a controversy.