Congress attacked the NDA government on Tuesday over cancellation of Indo-Pak talks even as the government and BJP said the neighbouring country cannot “walk with separatism and talk with Government of India” simultaneously.
Hitting out at the government, Congress leader Manish Tewari said it was in a “sonorous slumber” over the Pakistan issue.
He said the government has “completely walked itself into a corner” on the Pakistan policy and termed the talks between Hurriyat leaders and Pakistan a “ritual”, which the neighbouring country always follows before any interaction between the two nations.
“Now with the separatists challenging the government and the Pakistan High Commissioner cocking a dare at the government that they are still going ahead with their proposed interactions, what does government of India do the next? What is the strategy of the Government of India towards Pakistan,” Tewari asked.
CPI (M) also criticised the government for calling off the Indo-Pak talks after Kashmiri separatists met Pakistan High Commissioner, saying the decision was “inexplicable” as these meetings could be held only after the authorities permitted them.
“Whenever some Pakistani leaders come, they (separatists) meet them and they do so in our country itself. And this is not possible without the permission of our government,” senior CPI (M) leader Sitaram Yechury said.
“Why did it permit the meeting first? And after giving the permission, to call off the (Indo-Pak) talks is inexplicable. It can’t be understood,” he said.
Justifying the move, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said, “The point is very simple. Either Pakistan should talk to the Government of India or they should talk to separatists. They chose to talk to the separatists first inspite of clearly being told that if this persistence is there, it will be difficult to pursue the dialogue.”
Hardline Hurriyat Conference leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani, however, said it was “not a genuine reason” to cancel talks as “we had been talking (to Pakistan) during Congress regime as well as during the tenure of (NDA’s Prime Minister) Atal Bihari Vajpayee as well. This is not a new thing.”
Geelani said it is “very unfortunate” that the government of India has cancelled the scheduled Foreign Secretary level talks.