It was a “desperate attempt” by Pakistan to deflect attention from the terror outfits it harbours on its soil to label Indian political parties and social and cultural groups as “terrorist organisation”, the Ministry of External Affairs said on Friday.

Spokesperson Vikas Swarup said Islamabad was trying to shift focus from its own “complicity in spawning internationally proscribed organisations” such as the Lashar-e-Taba, Jamaat-ud-Dawa and Jaish-e-Mohammed, “which continue to target Pakistan’s neighbours from territory under its control”, PTI reported.

The statement from the ministry was in response to remarks made by Nafees Zakaria, spokesperson of the Pakistan Foreign Ministry, on Thursday. “Terrorist organisations such as RSS [Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh], Vishwa Hindu Prasad, Shiv Sena, Bajrang Dal and other terrorist elements are engaged in the drive to change demography of Kashmir,” he had said. At a weekly news briefing, Zakaria had said that Islamabad wanted to “amicably resolve all outstanding issues” with its neighbour by inviting New Delhi for a dialogue on Jammu and Kashmir to restore regional peace.

Relations between the two countries have deteriorated in recent months. India has said that there has been an increase in ceasefire violations after it carried out surgical strikes on “terror launchpads” along the Line of Control with Pakistan. On September 18, militants had attacked an Indian Army installation in Jammu and Kashmir’s Uri sector, in which 19 soldiers were killed. India had accused Pakistan of being involved in the strike, but Islamabad had dismissed the allegations as “baseless”.