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Since 1st March, 1999
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BJP returns Jamali fire

New Delhi, Oct. 3: The BJP has slammed Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali for saying the party was thwarting “normalisation of ties with Pakistan” in order to win the next Lok Sabha elections.

Speaking to a delegation of Texas representatives at Capitol Hill in Washington on Wednesday, the Pakistan Prime Minister had said the BJP was using normalisation of ties as an “election slogan”.

“The BJP is using the slogan of normalisation of talks with Pakistan as an election slogan while it lacks commitment,” Jamali said. He added that the “massacre of 2,000 innocent Muslims” had helped the party win the 2002 Gujarat Assembly elections.

BJP national chief M. Venkaiah Naidu responded today with a statement describing Jamali’s remarks as “extraordinary”. “It clearly amounts to interference in India’s internal political affairs,” he said.

Terming the Prime Minister’s allegations as “baseless and false”, Naidu said: “If the process of normalisation of Indo-Pak relations has stalled, the blame rests fully and squarely with Pakistan. The whole world knows that the reason for it lies in Pakistan’s refusal to dismantle its infrastructure of cross-border terrorism targeting India.

“Pakistan cannot pretend before the US and the rest of the international community that it is interested in normalising relations with India and, at the same time, continue to sponsor the campaign of terrorist killings in India,” he added.

The BJP chief said Jamali’s charge was all the more “ludicrous” because the offer to normalise ties came from Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

Naidu also refuted Jamali’s accusation that the BJP won the Gujarat election because of the “massacre” of Muslims. “This statement is clearly aimed at inciting communal sentiments in India. Those who have no democracy, those who practise theocracy and those who have wiped out minorities from their own country have no right to comment on a democratically elected government in an Indian state,” he said.

The BJP chose to see the hand of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence in Wednesday’s attack on . Chandrababu Naidu’s convoy near the temple town of Tirupati. Party spokesperson Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said he had information that the People’s War Group, which is thought to have made the attempt on the Andhra Pradesh chief minister’s life, was being helped by “external forces”. He identified these forces as the ISI and Maoists from Nepal, but would not elaborate.

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