ISLAMABAD: Responding to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s accusation that Pakistan is interfering in the hotly-contested state polls in his hometown of Gujarat, Islamabad has urged New Delhi to stop dragging Pakistan into its electoral debate.
“India should stop dragging Pakistan into its electoral debate and win victories on own strength rather than fabricated conspiracies, which are utterly baseless and irresponsible,” tweeted Foreign Office spokesperson Dr Muhammad Faisal.
The FO spokesperson’s reaction came amid a political storm in India after Modi accused the rival Congress of conniving with Pakistan to win the Gujarat state elections.
Modi’s unprecedented allegations cast a shadow over the election campaign with his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Congress trading barbs over the controversy.
According to Indian Express, Modi, while addressing an election rally in Banaskantha district on Sunday, referred to a purported tweet by a former serviceman Sardar Arshad Rafiq, who allegedly said Ahmed Patel, the political secretary to Congress President Sonia Ghandi, should be made the chief minister of Gujarat.
“Why is Pakistan’s senior retired army officer exercising his brains in the Gujarat election?” Modi had questioned. The Indian PM had also referred to a ‘secret meeting’ hosted by Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar during Pakistan former foreign minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri’s visit to India.
India should stop dragging Pakistan into its electoral debate and win victories on own strength rather than fabricated conspiracies, which are utterly baseless and irresponsible.
— Dr Mohammad Faisal (@ForeignOfficePk) December 11, 2017
“Pakistan high commissioner, former foreign minister, India’s former vice-president and India’s former prime minister Manmohan Singh all met at Aiyar’s house, held a meeting for three hours, and then the next day, Mani Shankar calls Modi ‘neech’.
“This is a serious and sensitive issue, being a meeting with the Pakistan high commissioner. Also, what is the reason for such a secret meeting amidst Gujarat elections? Don’t all these things raise questions and concern? The Congress has to answer,” he said.
The Congress strongly rejected the charges and instead hit back at Modi by reminding him how he visited Pakistan uninvited two years back in December 2015.
After Modi’s statement, India’s former PM Singh was compelled to issue a strong rejoinder in which he termed Modi’s allegations as baseless. He said the dinner at Aiyar’s residence was not something secret as a former army chief and a number of diplomats and journalists attended it.
Singh also insisted that the participants only discussed issues related to Pakistan-India ties.