Defending his latest remarks regarding Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Foreign Minister Bilawal-Bhutto Zardari claimed that he was merely referencing “a historical fact.”
At a news conference inside the UN last week, Bilawal had described Modi as “the butcher of Gujarat,” adding that instead of being punished for the 2002 massacre of over 2,000 Muslims in Gujarat, he was made the prime minister.
He was responding to his Indian counterpart S. Jaishankar’s remarks who, for two days in a row, had called Pakistan “the host of Osama bin Laden” and the “perpetrator of terrorism.”
While BJP members protested in various parts of the nation, including in front of the Pakistani High Commission in New Delhi, the Indian government harshly criticized Bilawal’s comments. An effigy of Bilawal had also been burned by some workers.
In an interview with Bloomberg published today, the foreign minister said: “I was referring to a historical reality. The remarks I used were not my own. I did not call […] I did not invent the term ‘Butcher of Gujarat’ for Mr. Modi. The Muslims in India following the Gujarat riots used that term for Mr. Modi. “I believe I was referring to a historical fact, and they believe that repeating history is a personal insult,” he said.
“It’s been two days since my remark — a member of Mr Modi’s party has announced a 20 million rupee bounty on my head. So, I don’t think the best way to disprove the fact that Mr Modi is the ‘Butcher of Gujarat’ is to adopt such extreme steps,” he said.