Cong, Oppn slam Pak

Last Updated 16 July 2010, 19:44 IST

“Pakistan’s tone and tenor at the Foreign Minister–level talks were negative and accusatory…. this approach is absolutely disappointing,” AICC spokesman Abhishek Singhvi said here.

The party also described as “completely unjustified and condemnable” Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi’s statement that External Affairs Minister S M Krishna had a “limited” mandate.

“Our External Affairs Minister fulfilled the mandate and conducted himself with utmost dignity and restraint while on foreign soil,” another Congress spokesperson Jayanthi Natarajan said.

“I would not look for a certificate by the Pakistan Foreign Minister,” she said, adding that Qureshi’s attempt to equate Home Secretary G K Pillai’s remarks with Jamaat-ud-Dawah (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed’s anti-India speeches were “ridiculous”. However, replying to a question on whether talks should be continued, she said: “It has always been our stand that effort should be made to bridge the trust deficit.”

The BJP too came down heavily on Qureshi with party spokesman Ravi Shankar Prasad saying: “We strongly condemn the utterly irresponsible comments of Qureshi against India and its foreign minister, and he has done this because basic diplomacy is absent in his brain.”

Referring to Qureshi’s comment that Krishna had been attending calls from New Delhi during the talks, Prasad said, “It was completely normal and right for Krishna to have attended phone calls from the Prime Minister and other government officials while on a diplomatic mission and Qureshi has no right to make irresponsible remarks about it.”
“Does Qureshi want that India’s foreign minister talk to the army like you do? Whose instructions do you take?” he said attacking Qureshi.

BJP criticises SMK

However, the BJP also criticised Krishna for not being able to counter Qureshi firmly. “I understand dignity and etiquette is needed, but the country’s pride is bigger. There should have been a firmer word on Pakistan after the manner in which Qureshi insulted India and its home secretary.” “It is unfortunate. I have no words to condemn that. They were equating terrorist Hafiz Saeed with one of our senior civil servants. And we were expecting India to condemn it. It has not happened, I am shocked. I regret he (Pillai) was not defended by India’s foreign minister,” Prasad said.

“This is humiliation to the country and we are disappointed in Krishna’s press conference,” he said, adding that India should take a tougher stand in dealing with Pakistan.

(Published 16 July 2010, 19:44 IST)

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