All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen chief Asaduddin Owaisi on Saturday criticised Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan over his assertion that the country is a nuclear power. “The Pakistan prime minister talks about atom bomb…don’t we also have it?” Owaisi said at a function in Hyderabad, the Hindustan Times reported. “We have it too. What is he talking about?”
Khan had also said that in case of a war between India and Pakistan, “neither me nor Modi will be able to control things”, given the “kind of weapons the two countries have”. However, Owaisi asked Khan to “first handle Lashkar-e-Shaitaan and Jaish-e-Shaitaan”, referring to extremist groups Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad, which operate from Pakistan.
Tensions between India and Pakistan rose after a Jaish-e-Mohammad militant drove a van laden with explosives into a Central Reserve Police Force convoy in Kashmir’s Pulwama on February 14, killing 40 jawans. Subsequently, the Indian Air Force conducted a strike on a Jaish-e-Mohammad terror camp in Pakistan’s Balakot on February 26. Pakistan responded by sending F-16 fighter jets into Indian territory, downing a MiG-21 aircraft and capturing its pilot.
Owaisi on Saturday expressed happiness at the return of Indian Air Force Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, but said there should be no politics over soldiers, PTI reported. The AIMIM leader also condemned Lashkar-e-Taiba, the Islamic State group and Jaish-e-Mohammad, calling them un-Islamic.
“You indulge in terrorism...what contract on Islam have you taken?” he asked. “Come here and debate with Islamic scholars of India...they will tell you that those carrying out suicide attacks have nothing to do with Islam.”
The Hyderabad legislator wondered how a huge quantity of RDX was used in the Pulwama attack, and asked the Centre to investigate claims that the bomber used American-made weapons.
However, Owaisi also criticised the Bharatiya Janata Party, over its “mera booth sabse mazbooth” programme. “BJP says ‘mera booth-sabse mazbooth’ [my polling booth is the strongest], but I say ‘meri sarhad mazboot toh mera desh mazbooth’ [my country is strong if my borders are strong],” the Hyderabad MP said.