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New York: Foreign Minister Bilawal-Bhutto Zardari has defended his recent remarks about Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying that he was referring to â€œa historical factâ€.
At a news conference inside the UN last week, Bilawal had described Modi as â€œthe butcher of Gujarat,â€ 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. Jaishankarâ€™s remarks who, for two days in a row, had called Pakistan â€œthe host of Osama bin Ladenâ€ and the â€œperpetrator of terrorism.â€
The Indian government had heavily criticised Bilawalâ€™s remarks while workers of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had staged protests in parts of the country, including outside the Pakistani High Commission in New Delhi. Some workers had also burnt an effigy of Bilawal.
In an interview with Bloomberg published today, the foreign minister said: â€œI was referring to a historical reality. The remarks I used were not my own. I did not call [â€¦] I did not invent the term â€˜Butcher of Gujaratâ€™ for Mr Modi. The Muslims in India following the Gujarat riots used that term for Mr Modi.
â€œI believe I was referring to a historical fact, and they believe that repeating history is a personal insult,â€ he said.
â€œItâ€™s been two days since my remark â€” a member of Mr Modiâ€™s party has announced a 20 million rupee bounty on my head. So, I donâ€™t think the best way to disprove the fact that Mr Modi is the â€˜Butcher of Gujaratâ€™ is to adopt such extreme steps,â€ he said.
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