Pakistan’s credibility depleting faster than its forex reserves: EAM tears into Pak FM

New Delhi/Panaji: External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Friday did not mince words as he slammed Pakistan Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari’s criticism of India, terming the Pakistan FM as the “spokesperson of a terrorism industry which is the mainstay of Pakistan” and that “Islamabad’s credibility is depleting even faster than its forex reserves” on the issue of terrorism.
Addressing a press conference on the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) foreign ministers’ meeting held in Panaji, the EAM fielded several questions on the Pakistani FM and his press conference held in Panaji where the latter raised the issue of Jammu and Kashmir, of India set to host a G20 event in Srinagar, and the abolition of Article 370.
On the significance of the visit of the Pakistan FM, coming as five Indian soldiers have died following an encounter in Rajouri, the EAM said:
“As a Foreign Minister of an SCO member state Mr Bhutto was treated accordingly; as a promoter, justifier, and I am sorry to say spokesperson of a terrorism industry, which is the mainstay of Pakistan, his position was called out, including at the SCO itself.”
To a question on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, he said:
“On CPEC, the so-called corridor, I think it was made very clear not once, but twice at the SCO meeting, that connectivity is good for progress, but it cannot violate the territorial integrity and sovereignty of states; and this has been our longstanding position and this was made clear to everyone in the room, and I made sure about it.”
On Bilawal Bhutto raising the issue of India to host a G20 event in Srinagar, EAM Jaishankar said: “I don’t think there is a G20 issue to debate with anyone, certainly not with a country that has nothing to do with G20. Jammu and Kashmir was, is, will and always will be a part of India; and G20 events are held in all parts of India, and it is completely natural that a G20 event is held there.”
“They have nothing to do with the G20 or Srinagar, but only one issue — of when they will vacate their illegal occupation of Kashmir,” he said.
On Bilawal Bhutto saying both sides should sit together for talks, EAM said: “Victims of terrorism do not sit together with the perpetrators of terrorism, they defend themselves, they counter acts of terrorism, they call out and de-legitimise terrorism, and that’s what we are doing..
“To come here and preach hypocritical words as though we are in the same boat.. They are committing acts of terrorism, we are all feeling completely outraged (referring to the Rajouri encounter). On the matter of terrorism, Pakistan’s credibility is depleting even faster than its forex reserves.”
“A country which does terrorism cannot talk about peace in the same breath.”
To Bilawal saying the two sides should not let sports be held hostage to their bilateral tensions, EAM Jaishankar said: “He is trying to normalise terrorism. ‘Terrorism happens… so what.. it’s not a big deal, you know there are reasons why terrorism happens, there are really excuses for it, therefore let’s carry on with the rest of it’. I am sorry, this India will not accept that. If terrorism happens, terrorism will be countered. In the foreign ministry, our job is to expose terrorism, call it out, delegitimise it, and we will be unrelenting in that regard; and no attempt to cover it up by suggesting we do other things and we can carry on with other issues where clearly they are feeling the pinch, sorry that won’t happen.”
Asked if Bilawal Bhutto’s visit was a breakthrough amid the bilateral tension, he said: “Is it a breakthrough? He came here as part of the SCO member states, as part of multilateral diplomacy, it was not anything more than that, and nothing from what he said and what I have heard he said, deserves to be treated more than that.”
To a question on Bilawal Bhutto saying India was “weaponizing the issue of terrorism”, the EAM scathingly replied: “It is interesting, it unconsciously reveals the mindset; it means the activity is legitimate and somebody is weaponising terrorism, like weaponising trade, weaponizing technology. If somebody says you are weaponizing terrorism, it means that terrorism is legitimate and we should not weaponise it.
“What we are doing is, we are countering terrorism and defending ourselves, and calling it out, and exposing it; we are not scoring diplomatic points, we are politically and diplomatically exposing Pakistan before the world, and as a victim of terrorism I am completely entitled to do so.
“Don’t weaponise terrorism? You mean as a victim I am not supposed to speak about it? Come on!
“We are victims of terrorism and we are not supposed to speak about it? That sentence speaks a lot about the mindset of the country and speaks for itself.”
To another question on Bilawal saying that peace is the destiny of the two countries, EAM said: “Whether it is, I do not know, but terrorism cannot be the destiny. A country which talks of peace and does terrorism… See his credibility… and that country’s history talks for itself; only the playbook was old and the location was new, Goa.”
On Bilawal raking up the issue of abrogation of Article 370, EAM said: “I have only to say: Wake up and smell the coffee! 370 is history and the sooner the people realise it the better.”

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