ISLAMABAD - Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) President Sardar Masood Khan Saturday dismissed the Indian allegations of destruction of Buddhist sites in Gilgit-Baltistan, saying the vicious blame game was a part of India’s attempt to divert attention from its own crimes against humanity.

“It was the ruling BJP that had pulled down centuries-old Babri Mosque at Ayoudhia, had reduced Charare Sharif shrine to ashes in IoK, ruined the holy Golden Temple in Amritsar and killed hundreds of innocent Sikhs, and destroyed places of worship of Christians in different parts of India.”

In a video message, he said that before expressing fake sympathy with the followers of Buddhism, the Indian rulers should search their souls, and must remember that the present Pakistani territory was once the abode of Buddhism, and that Buddha’s heritage was still preserved in Gandhara, Mohenjo-Daro, and Harappa and many other places.

“We reject BJP’s phony concern over “India’s” Buddhist heritage in Gilgit-Baltistan. Pakistan has been the cradle of a Buddhist civilization for centuries. The occupier has the cheek to show fake anger to hide its crimes in the held Kashmir and rest of India,” Khan maintained.

He asserted that the Gilgit-Baltistan region was on the ancient Silk route which was the only source of trade and cultural bonds among China, Central Asia and the East Asian countries over the centuries.

He further said that Gilgit-Baltistan was part of Jammu and Kashmir state, and the people of this region loved Pakistan and were emotionally attached to their heritage. The AJK president asserted that the Government of Pakistan also extended full cooperation to the people and the government of Gilgit-Baltistan for the preservation of this ancient and historical heritage.

He went on to say that the hearts of the people of Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan throbbed together, and they were like one body.  “There is no difference of opinion between them when it comes to the preservation of Buddha’s heritage,” he asserted.

Describing the allegations of destruction of the Buddhist sites as an act of provocation on the part of the Indian government, the AJK president said the false allegations were designed to hide India’s crimes against humanity in the occupied Kashmir and the hate campaign of RSS against minorities in the country.

“The BJP and RSS, the Neo-Fascist forces dominating India, believe that the desecration and destruction of Babri Mosque, attack on the Golden Temple and arson of most revered Charar Sharif Shrine were acts of piety and a religious duty. They belong to the Stone Age. Civilization has evolved,” Sardar Masood Khan pointed out.

He said Narendra Modi’s party had declared in its election manifesto that it will take all necessary measures to impose a Hindu nationalist agenda on India, and to fulfill this agenda, Modi had introduced black citizenship law in India, and is also taking practical steps to turn the Muslim majority of occupied Kashmir into a minority,” he added.

Sardar Masood Khan said that stiff resistance against the hegemonic moves of Modi was being offered in India and the occupied Kashmir. “Though such unfounded allegations, India cannot drive a wedge between the people of Gilgit-Baltistan, Kashmir, Pakistan, China and other nations,” he concluded.