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'Even in India, people are not killed while offering prayers:' Pakistan Defence Minister

Khawaja Asif said the country has "sown the seeds for terrorism"

Khawaja Asif (File) Pakistan's Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif | Reuters

Days after over 100 people died in a mosque blast in Pakistan, the country's defence minister has said people getting killed while offering prayers never happened "even in India and Israel" but happens in Pakistan. 

"Even in India and Israel, people are not killed while offering prayers. But it happens in Pakistan," Minister for Defence Khawaja Asif said at the country's Parliament House on Tuesday. 

The defence minister added that it was important to "put our House in order first." "Soul searching and self accountability has become imperative due to our own follies and blunders as the seeds of terrorism were sown during the dictatorial tenures," ANI quoted Asif.  

Citing that internal differences were posing serious threats to the country, Asif said the world does not acknowledge Pakistan's sacrifices in fight against terrorism. "This war started from Swat during the PPP's tenure and it was concluded during the PML-N's previous tenure, and peace was established in the country from Karachi to Swat."

"But if you remember, a year-and-a-half or two years ago [...] we were given a briefing two, three times in this same hall in which it was clearly stated that talks could be carried out against these people and they can be brought toward peace," he added. 

He added that 450,000 Afghans had been settled in Pakistan after crossing the Pak-Afghan border on valid document. "They did not return to their country and had now occupied transport business in Pakistan," he added.

He added thousands of people were left without jobs after the Afghans came and settled in Pakistan. "I will not talk for long but I will say briefly that at the start, we sowed the seeds for terrorism," the defence minister said.

He said that when Russia invaded Afghanistan, Pakistan offered its services to the United States 'on rent'. "General Zia was the ruler at the time [...] the agreement made with the US went on for eight to nine years after which the US went back to Washington celebrating the fact that Russia was defeated," he added.

Meanwhile, India has condoled the loss of lives in the deadly mosque attack. MEA Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi tweeted that India extends its deep condolences to the families of the victims of the terror attack in Peshawar. "We strongly condemn this attack, which has taken the lives of so many people," his post read.

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