Advani accuses Krishna of contradicting Singh

Advani accuses Krishna of contradicting Singh

Opposition parties demand clarification from government on talks with Pakistan

A day after the Pakistan Supreme Court adjourned indefinitely hearing on the petitions against the release of Jamat-ud-Dawah (JuD) chief, Hafiz Saeed, the Opposition BJP-led NDA and the Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) launched a joint attack on the government in the House.

The House witnessed heated exchanges between the MPs of the Congress and the Opposition. The NDA, the SP and the RJD members later staged a walkout as the government did not respond to their demand for a statement from either Singh or Krishna on New Delhi’s stand on talks with Islamabad.

SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav raised the issue during Zero Hour. He said the Indian government had accused Saeed of being one of the brains behind the 26/11 terrorist attacks in Mumbai. “But he (Saeed) now enjoys the liberty of moving freely in Pakistan for an indefinite period,” said Yadav.

“The PM told us to trust and verify…and that Pakistan had changed (its attitude towards terrorism),” he said, quoting from the statement the prime minister had made in the House on July 29 last, during a debate on the controversial Indo-Pak joint statement issued in the Egyptian city of Sharm-El-Sheikh.

After Yadav spoke, Speaker Meira Kumar asked another Congress MP to raise an unrelated issue. But the NDA, the SP and the RJD members sought a discussion on the Indo-Pak relation. Amid a ruckus, Meira Kumar allowed former external affairs minister Yashwant Sinha (BJP) to speak.

Sinha recalled that the prime minister that Islamabad had given New Delhi a dossier detailing the progress made by the Pakistani Federal Investigation Agency in the probe into 26/11. The dossier had mentioned that five of the accused had been arrested and 13 others had been declared proclaimed offenders. “But there was no mention about Saeed in that dossier,” said Sinha.

Talks meaningless

The din continued as the Opposition MPs sought a response from the government. The Speaker adjourned the House after sometime. After the House reassembled, Advani quoted Krishna’s remarks that appeared in some section of the press that the Indo-Pak dialogue would be meaningless till Islamabad acted against terrorists; no matter how many times the prime ministers, foreign ministers and foreign secretaries of the two countries met.

“This statement amounts to contradicting the statement by the prime minister who agreed to de-linking terror from dialogue (in the Sharm-El-Sheikh joint statement). I will be happy if he (Krishna) did (contradict),” said Advani. He demanded a clarification from Singh or Krishna. However, with none of them present in the House, the government did not respond.

Lalu Prasad and JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav supported Advani. Congress’s Sanjay Nirupam tried to defend the government, but his remark that Pakistan too was fighting terrorism over the past few months drew flak from the Opposition.

The SP and RJD members were the first to stage a walkout. Advani also led the NDA MPs to follow suit. The ruling Congress, however, later rejected the BJP’s allegation that the external affairs minister had contradicted the prime minister.