Delhi ( New Delhi)

BJP cites Pak journalist claim to attack Ansari, he counters: Litany of falsehood

Pakistani journalist Nusrat Mirza has claimed that former Vice President Hamid Ansari had invited her to India five times between 2005-2011. Mirza says he shared information collected during his visits with Pakistan’s ISI.

Citing media reports on Pakistani journalist Nusrat Mirza’s claims that former Vice President Hamid Ansari had invited her to India, and that she had shared information collected during the visit with Pakistan’s ISI, the BJP on Wednesday asked both Ansari and the Congress, which led the then UPA government, to come clean on this and share the details with the present government.

Denying the allegations, Ansari called the BJP’s allegations a “manifesto of lies”. “I never invited him [Mirza] or met him,” he said.

In a stern reply, Congress said the BJP spokesperson’s “objections and objections” are “character assassination in the worst form”.

“I am bound by the commitment to national security in such matters and refrain from commenting on them,” Ansari said in a statement. “The Government of India has all the information and has the sole right to speak the truth. It is a matter of record that after my tenure in Tehran [as India’s Ambassador to Iran] I was appointed as India’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York. There my work has been appreciated in the country and abroad.

Congress general secretary in charge of the party’s communications, Jairam Ramesh, said, “The level to which the Prime Minister and his party allies will fall to stifle public debate and spread the lies of their patent brand is staggering. It shows illness of mind and lack of integrity of any kind.”

Mirza reportedly made this claim in a recent conversation with journalist and YouTuber Shakeel Choudhary. He reportedly said that he shared the information collected with the ISI.

Addressing the media at the party headquarters on Wednesday, BJP spokesperson Gaurav Bhatia cited “television reports and social media” and said that Mirza has said that Ansari had invited him to India. “Mirza said (that) during his visit to India, he met her and shared sensitive and secret information. We must not forget that the post of Vice President is constitutional and there are many issues that cannot be shared, as they are related to the security of the country.

According to Bhatia, Mirza had visited India on five occasions and was allowed to visit seven cities, instead of the usual four visits allowed to a foreign visitor. “This [information] has been shared not once, but five times,” Bhatia said. “He says this information was used against India by the ISI to weaken India. India is leading the campaign against terrorism, and the Congress government invited a man who was given information to be used against our country and its people.

Bhatia said the Congress and Ansari, who headed the UPA government during the respective period, should tell the country whether such incidents have happened. He said Ansari had invited a person from a country which is known to support terrorism to talk about combating terrorism. This is their policy to fight terrorism.”

He asked Ansari to come clean on the allegations and tell people whether he had “invited this person and shared many confidential and sensitive matters, officially or informally”. “If you have, please share it with the present government to show that you are committed to this nation”, Bhatia said.

In his statement, Ansari said, “I have been swayed by lies yesterday and today in the official spokesperson of the BJP and some sections of the media. That I had invited Pakistani journalist Nusrat Mirza as the Vice President of India. that I met him at a conference on “terrorism” in New Delhi and that as ambassador to Iran, I had betrayed the national interest in a matter for which allegations have been made by a former official of a government agency.

Ansari said, “It is a known fact that invitations to foreign dignitaries by the Vice President of India are on the advice of the government, usually through the Ministry of External Affairs. The conference was inaugurated. As is the usual practice, this list of invitees must have been prepared by the organizers. I have never invited or met him.”

Ansari said that “his work as ambassador to Iran was at all times within the knowledge of the government of the time.”

Taking a dig at Congress leaders, Bhatia named both party chief Sonia Gandhi and former Congress president Rahul Gandhi and said the opposition party has a history that it “stands for the family, not the nation”. The BJP leader also asked Ansari whether he had taken instructions from the Gandhi family to invite Mirza.

Jairam Ramesh retorted and said, “The objections and allegations of a BJP spokesperson against Sonia Gandhi and Hamid Ansari should be condemned in the strongest language. The facts about the International Conference held in New Delhi on 11th December 2010 are already in the public domain. The objections and objections of the BJP spokesperson are character assassination in the worst form.

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