Krishna refutes Qureshi’s charges


Agencies July 16, 2010

NEW DEHLI: Talks with Pakistan enabled the two countries to develop better understanding of their perspectives, India’s External Affairs Minister S M Krishna said on Friday.Backing Home Secretary G K Pillai, he said it was wrong on Pakistan’s part to make the comparison with Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed.

Krishna was speaking to journalists after returning from Pakistan. Rejecting his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mahmood Qureshi’s allegation that India is not prepared for talks, Krishna said India is fully prepared and that a timeline is not feasible.

He also refuted Qureshi’s allegation that he was talking over the phone during the meeting.  “I did not speak with anybody, [the] mandate given to me was very precise and I did not need any other instruction from New Delhi,” Krishna said.

Defending the home secretary, he said Pillai did not say anything wrong.

Earlier, Pakistan took exception to Pillai’s recent remarks on the ISI’s role in the Mumbai attacks.

Before leaving for India, Krishna said that there was no acrimony between the  two sides on the issue. “Whatever was to be said has been said,” Krishna told reporters. He was responding to a question on Pillai’s remarks two days ago that Pakistani-American terror suspect David Headley had revealed to interrogators that the ISI and JuD chief Hafiz Saeed had played a “much more significant role” in planning and executing the Mumbai terror attacks.

Meanwhile, India’s main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) said that the foreign ministers’ meeting achieved nothing and demanded the government pull out of faltering peace talks with Pakistan.

The BJP has been opposed to the new attempts at dialogue from the start and senior leaders called them “talks for the sake of talks.”

“India should call off the talks now,” the leader of the parliamentary party, Sushma Swaraj, told the Times Now news channel. “The government should rethink, they should not engage in a dialogue if Pakistan continues this attitude.”

“I would like to ask what is the meaning of a dialogue when India gets nothing,” said former foreign minister and senior BJP leader Jaswant Singh. “If we are not finding any purpose, then we should call off the talks,” he added.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 17th, 2010.

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