The Congress on Saturday took a swipe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi for sending best wishes to his Pakistani counterpart Imran Khan on the eve of the neighbouring country’s National Day.
Official sources said PM Narendra Modi sent a letter to Imran Khan on Friday, greeting people of Pakistan on the eve of its National Day and highlighting the importance of a terror-free South Asia.
Pakistan National Day is celebrated on March 23 every year to mark the signing of the Lahore Resolution on this day in 1940.
Drawing words from an interview PM Narendra Modi gave to a television channel when the UPA was in power, Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala asked the prime minister to stop writing “love letters” to Pakistan.
“Chowkidar hid the fact that he had wished Pak PM on Pak National Day without a word on Pak terrorism. Muscular politics soap opera for people and media only,” Surjewala said on Twitter.
Sharing a clip of Modi’s interview, he said, “Modi ji, stop writing these love letters to Pakistan.”
In the video clip, Modi says that answer should be given to Pakistan in its language and “writing love letters” to it should be stopped.
He was referring to a letter written by the then prime minister Manmohan Singh to the then Pakistan president.
Later briefing the media, Surjewala said PM Narendra Modi sent the message to Imran Khan in “secrecy”, but forgot to mention Pakistan-sponsored terrorism in it.
“Modi ji, is this your love for your nation?” he asked.
Posing 10 questions to Modi, Surjewala asked why he did not bring up LeT, JeM, Dawood Ibrahim in the letter and why he had visited Pakistan on Nawaz Sharif’s birthday as an “uninvited guest”.
The Congress spokesperson asked why on March 27, 2016, the ISI, which protects terrorists, was invited to India to investigate the Pathankot terror attack.
“On March 30, 2016, Amit Shah you had praised the ISI in Kolkata and expressed your trust in them,” Surjewala alleged.
He also asked why Modi did not speak out against Pakistan when its forces killed two Indian soldiers, Mandeep Singh and Narendra Singh, and mutilated their bodies.
He also alleged that under the Modi government, Dawood Ibrahim’s wife entered India and claimed that it made arrangements for her and even allowed her to leave.
Surjewala also reminded Modi that the present government and its National Security Advisor Ajit Doval had facilitated the travel of Masood Azhar Omar Sheikh and Mushtaq Ahmed Zargar, a Kashmiri militant belonging to the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front, to Kandahar in Afghanistan in 1999.
The three were released in exchange for hostages after Indian Airlines Flight 814 was hijacked in December that year.
“If anyone needs to apologise to the nation for preserving Pakistan, ISI and terrorists then it is Modi ji and Amit Shah ji and the nation wants answers from them,” Surjewala said.
Senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal, in a press conference later in the day, claimed that the prime minister had been on good terms with the Pakistani establishment even earlier.
“Remember Modi ji… you embraced Nawaz Sharif, called him to your inauguration and showed what a change it would be. It was you who shared a birthday bash, gave him gifts. While our PM never visited Pakistan, you gave him gifts and then you are teaching us lessons on Pakistan,” he said.
The Congress leader further alleged that the number of security personnel killed in terrorist attacks has been rising ever since the Modi dispensation assumed office, citing attacks in Gurdaspur, Pathankot, Uri and Pulwama.
“More than 60 security personnel have been martyred since the Pulwama attack. Everyday our soldiers are martyred. Why is the ‘chowkidar’ asleep during these terror attacks?” asked Sibal.
Modi’s message to Khan came amidst heightened tensions between the nuclear-armed neighbours following the Pulwama attack and the subsequent air strikes by India on a Jaish-e-Mohammad terror camp in Pakistan’s Balakot.
Forty CRPF jawans were killed in the Pulwama terror attack in February.