“Also, we were told not to use phones in the conference hall as they were all bugged. So, there was strict instruction that no one should use any phone which was in working condition. It was only the Indian high commissioner in Islamabad (Sharat Sabarwal) who used his mobile a couple of times,” sources told Deccan Herald here on Saturday.
On the snide remark of Qureshi—which has raised eyebrows in political, diplomatic and media circles in both countries—these sources maintained that not even once Krishna conferred with Delhi. “Forget that, he could not even talk to his family. He never went out of the room,” they said.
Instead of Krishna, it was Qureshi who waited for the approval of his bosses, especially from the Pakistan Army because of which the press briefing kept getting postponed.
Giving the Indian perspective of the events that unfolded during the eight-hour talks, the sources pointed out that New Delhi was keen on a joint statement but it could not be done because Pakistan was not prepared for it. “Islamabad wanted a review of the Indus river water treaty. We are prepared for it. Only 20 per cent of Indus water flows in India and the rest in Pakistan. Even this did not happen as they changed their stance.”
After the Thursday press meet where Qureshi maintained a belligerent stand, it was all honky-dory at the dinner where the two foreign ministers and their delegations met. The next day, Krishna called on Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, who has over the years become a friend of the Indian minister. Krishna, who presented him with a chader, invited him to visit India and, in particular, Bangalore.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh commended the efforts put up by the minister and his team in Islamabad and their stand on issues such as the trial of Mumbai attackers and Kashmir. “I wanted to bring something positive from this meeting, I am sorry I could not,” Krishna reportedly told the prime minister when he met the latter after returning from Islamabad. Singh told him that such things do happen especially in discussions with Pakistan.
Krishna is likely to meet US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Kabul on July 20 and his recent talks with his Pakistan counterpart Qureshi may figure in the one-on-one meeting.
Foreign ministers of the “donor nations “ will meet in the Afghan capital and Krishna is likely to arrive there on Monday. Hillary’s office sent word on this to the Indian Embassy in Washington on Friday seeking a meeting while appreciating on the Indian stand to continue the dialogue process with Islamabad.