Congress on Tuesday dubbed as an “eyewash” the meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistan counterpart Nawaz Sharif in Ufa last week and said Modi must explain on what grounds he took the “big step”.
While there was no mention of the Kashmir dispute, the two leaders agreed that all “outstanding issues” between the two countries would be discussed.
Sartaj Aziz said Pakistan has stood by the Kashmiris in their legitimate struggle and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif affirmed our principled position in clear and unequivocal terms during his annual speech at the UN General Assembly.
“Our country and our region have several challenges ranging from outstanding issues like Kashmir to terrorism to poverty and low human development”, Aziz said.
To address these acrimonious concerns, the two sides agreed that the National Security Advisers of the two countries would meet, first in New Delhi and then in Islamabad, he added.
India has entertained for long the feeling that Islamabad is not pursuing the case against the Pakistan-based terror group responsible for the 26/11 attack on Mumbai which left 166 people dead. India on the other hand, he pointed out, has been repeating its traditional accusation of cross-border terrorism while overlooking the decisive counterterrorism campaign launched by Pakistan. It took place on the desire of the Indian side.
The talks are being held at India?s initiative? the process had started when Prime Minister Narendra Modi called up Mr. Sharif to wish him at the beginning of the holy month of the Ramzan.
“This is the government that made tall claims that they will teach a lesson to Pakistan”, Congress leader Meem Afzaal said.
But it would be astonishing if Modi was not at a Saarc summit, so Sharif’s invitation and the forthcoming visit should not be seen as a precursor to any breakthrough.
The statement was jointly formed by the two foreign secretaries just after the meeting, and “the idea that it is not true and accurate means that both (foreign secretaries) are misleading”, the sources added.
The reference to the need to speed up the trial into the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks had sparked suggestions by some here that Pakistan had conceded there had been laxity on pursuing cases against key accused. “Our view has been, and was so in this meeting too, that we need more evidence and information to conclude this trial”, he said, and maintained that seeking of additional information is itself a proof that Pakistan wants to expedite the trial.
The two sides announced they would release fishermen held in each other’s custody within 15 days as a goodwill gesture.
“These are major powers with whom we engage and cooperate on a number of issues despite any disagreements we may have with them”, Toner said.
Media reports quoted sources in the External Affairs Ministry as saying that anyone can speak anything but the basis of the talks is the joint statement.
Opposition Pakistan People’s Party welcomed the meeting between the two leaders in Ufa, Russian Federation yesterday but said Sharif failed to highlight Pakistan’s concerns clearly and precisely, the Express Tribune reported.