Bharatiya Janata Party President Amit Shah on Friday criticised the Opposition for raising questions against the government amid escalating tensions with Pakistan in the last few days.

The Indian Air Force on Tuesday conducted cross-border strikes in Balakot and claimed to have targeted a Jaish-e-Mohammed terror camp in retaliation to the Pulwama attack. A day later, Pakistani and Indian jets engaged in aerial skirmishes, with Pakistan capturing IAF pilot Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman.

“What are you trying to equate,” Shah asked referring to former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s remarks calling for calm in both countries. He was speaking at the India Today conclave in New Delhi. “One is a country that engages in terror attacks, the other is a country that responds for its self-defence, how can you equate both? Will the country run by this ideology?” The media also does not point out such remarks, he claimed.

Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had on Wednesday said he hoped that “saner counsels” prevail between the governments of India and Pakistan as the tensions between the two countries had escalated. Singh said the country was grappling with another crisis of the “mad rush of mutual self-destruction” that plagues India and Pakistan.

“When the whole world is with India, why are these people raising questions,” the BJP chief asked, referring to a joint statement by over 20 Opposition parties. The statement had expressed the parties’ anguish over the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party’s “blatant politicisation” of the sacrifices made by armed forces by leaders.

On Thursday, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee demanded that the Centre share details about the strike and pointed out that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had not yet held an all-party meeting with members about the operation.

Shah claimed that the resolution signed by the Opposition parties had brought a sense of joy to the Pakistani media and their Parliament. “We have also been in the Opposition, for much longer times than you. But we have never behaved like this in matters of national interest,” he told the Opposition.

‘Diplomatic victory’

Shah also claimed that Pakistan’s decision to return captive IAF pilot Abhinandan Varthaman was a “diplomatic victory” for India.

Shah credited the government for creating a situation that enabled Varthaman’s return, PTI reported. “Creating situation for return of pilot Abhinandan in such a short span of time is our diplomatic victory,” he said at an event in New Delhi.

Varthaman, who was flying a MiG-21 fighter jet, was captured on Wednesday after his aircraft went down in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, during the dogfight between Indian and Pakistani aircraft. Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday announced his government would release Abhinandan as a “peace gesture”. The pilot is set to return to India on Friday afternoon via the Wagah border near Amritsar.

‘Imran Khan has not condemned Pulwama’

Shah also criticised Imran Khan for not condemning the Pulwama suicide attack attack and inquired how India could trust him in such a scenario, India Today reported.

“Imran Khan has not condemned any terror attack,” Shah said. “He must explain what his compulsions are.”

Forty jawans of the Central Reserve Police Force were killed in a suicide bombing in south Kashmir’s Pulwama on February 14 after a Jaish-e-Mohammed operative rammed an explosive-laden vehicle into a bus. More than a week after the attack, Khan asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to “give peace a chance” and had promised to act immediately if India gave “actionable intelligence”.

Reacting to Khan’s statement, Shah said the matter of providing evidence would come at a later stage. “...But first the Prime Minister of Pakistan must at least condemn what happened in Pakistan. He does not have even two words to condemn the attack,” said Shah.

The BJP chief wondered whether India could continue to trust Khan when he had failed to even condemn the attack. “How do we trust him [Khan]? He will keep talking and we should just listen?” Shah said. “Should we not look through his motives?”

“We know that governance in Pakistan is not in his control,” Shah added. “But at least he [Khan] could do lip service. Are you so helpless?”