In the Upper House, the Congress raised the issue of the talks between India and Pakistan’s NSAs, a day after they met in Bangkok.
Congress accused the government of showing “disrespect to the Parliament”, by not keeping it informed about what it called, the “fundamental departure” in its position on India-Pakistan ties.
As soon as the proceedings began in the Upper House, Leader of the Congress in the House, Anand Sharma demanded a clarification from the PM on India’s meeting with Pakistan in Bangkok, which came as a surprise to many.
“I have given a notice under Rule 267 so that the Prime Minister and his government inform the House about the developments and the reasons which have made the government to make a fundamental departure from the position as was conveyed to this august House in the last session with regard to India’s engagement with Pakistan,” Sharma said.
“…This is disrespect to Parliament, that Parliament is not informed as to what developments are taking place… Therefore, we would demand government takes Parliament into confidence and the Prime Minister shares as to what has been the understanding reached between him and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for the government now to move forward,” Sharma added.
Even as he demanded the reasons behind the sudden “departure” of the government’s stand, Sharma clarified that he is not against the Indo-Pak dialogue process and has no objection to the meeting of the NSAs.
“We understand the sensitivities. We are not objecting. We have always been in favour of constructive approach and a dialogue, but at the same time this has been the established practice that Parliament is to be taken into confidence when it is in session,” he said.
He also explained why he chose to call the government’s new stand a “fundamental departure” from existing Indo-Pak talks.
“The fact that the Foreign Secretaries have accompanied the National Security Advisors means that the scope and the agenda has been expanded…. that is why we have used the words ‘fundamental departure,’ Sharma said.
To this, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said that External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj will clear all doubts when she will issue a statement in the House post her return from Pakistan.
“On the issue raised by you, I assure you that on December 10 the External Affairs Minister will come to the House and provide all information on the issues that you have raised,” assured Naqvi.
Sushma Swaraj will be heading to Islamabad on Tuesday to attend a multilateral conference on Afghanistan. During her two-day stay, she is likely to meet her counterpart Sartaj Aziz.
Meanwhile, Congress MP Rajiv Shukla raised the issue of the stalled cricketing ties between India and Pakistan.
When all kinds of exchanges are happening between India and Pakistan, then “why prevent the cricket teams from playing,” said Shukla while batting for the much-hyped Indo-Pak cricket series.
(With inputs from PTI)