ISLAMABAD - Pakistan yesterday gave a shut-up call to India after Indian External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar accused Pakistan of practising terrorism.

In a statement, the foreign ministry said: “We firmly reject the unfounded remarks reportedly made by the Indian External Affairs Minister in an interview with a French newspaper and in interaction with certain other media outlets.” It added: “This outburst is yet another reflection of India’s characteristic hubris and the BJP government’s well-known smear campaign against Pakistan.”

Earlier, in an interview with French daily Le Monde, Jaishankar said the relationship with Pakistan remained ‘difficult’ because “it openly practices terrorism against India.”

He said if Islamabad was serious to cooperate with New Delhi, “it should hand over the Indians wanted for terrorist activities living in Pakistan.”

The relationship, he alleged, “is difficult since many years, mainly because Pakistan has developed an important terrorist industry and sends terrorists to India to carry out attacks. Pakistan itself does not deny this situation.”

FO says Shankar’s outburst reflection of Delhi’s smear campaign

The foreign ministry said it was deplorable that to further the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh-Bharatiya Janata Party extremist ideological and nationalistic agenda and to divert global attention from the gory reality in held Kashmir, “senior Indian officials continue to manufacture facts both with regard to the issue of terrorism and the situation in Kashmir.” If anything, the statement said, Commander Kulbhushan Jadhav is the face of India’s “export” of terrorism to Pakistan.

Similarly, it said, India’s frustration is evident from the fact that despite its relentless state terrorism in held Kashmir for decades, “it has failed to muzzle the peaceful voices of the Kashmiri people and their demand for self-determination, promised to them in the United Nations Security Council resolutions.” India, it said, “also continues to be the safe haven for those preaching hate and carrying out hate crimes, including against its own minorities, with impunity and indeed under state patronage.”

As regards the Indian minister’s farcical claim that the “situation is back to normal” in Occupied Kashmir, the statement said: “The question is why this normalcy is not visible to the outside world? For India, there is no escape from the reality that its state-sponsored repression cannot break the will and indomitable spirit of the Kashmiri people.”

“India would be well advised to move away from its obsession with Pakistan and also from its continued denial of reality. Pakistan, for its part, would continue to highlight the plight of the people of held Kashmir and reiterate its call for the peaceful resolution of the international dispute of Kashmir,” the statement added.

As a country that has suffered the most from cross-border terrorism, it said, “Pakistan would continue to contribute constructively to regional and global efforts to promote peace and prosperity in the region and beyond.”

Tensions between Pakistan and India spiked after India abrogated provisions of Article 370 of the Constitution to withdraw Jammu and Kashmir’s special status and bifurcated it into two union territories, evoking strong reaction from Pakistan. India has defiantly told the international community that the scrapping of Article 370 was an “internal matter.”

This month, India released fresh maps of illegally created Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh and the map of India depicting these UTs. In the controversial maps, AJK is shown as part of the newly created Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir while Gilgit-Baltistan is depicted in the UT of Ladakh.

The maps were released after the Indian government illegally bifurcated Jammu and Kashmir into two union territories - Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh - in accordance with the Indian government’s August 5 announcement revoking the state’s special status under Article 370.

The release of the controversial maps only worsened the tension. Pakistan rejected the political maps, saying: “We reiterate that no step by India can change the disputed status of Jammu and Kashmir recognized by the United Nations. Such measures by the Government of India cannot prejudice the inalienable right to self-determination of the people of Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir.”