Congress says Pakistan's approach disappointing | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Congress says Pakistan's approach disappointing

delhi Updated: Jul 16, 2010 22:49 IST

The Congress on Frdiay voiced disappointment over Pakistan's approach at the Foreign Minister-level talks in Islamabad, saying the "tone and tenor" were negative and accusatory.

The party also dismissed criticism of External Affairs Minister S M Krishna, asserting that he "fulfilled" the mandate on talks with Pakistani counterpart Shah Mahmood Qureshi and conducted himself with utmost dignity and restraint.

"Pakistan's tone and tenor at the talks were negative and accusatory," party spokesman Abhishek Manu Singhvi said, adding this approach was "absolutely disappointing".

The Congress dubbed the statements of Qureshi on Krishna having a limited mandate as "completely unjustified and condemnable".

"I would not look for a certificate by the Pakistan Foreign Minister," another party spokesperson Jayanthi Natarajan said, adding that Qureshi himself was accused by the Pakistan media of catering to domestic constituency.

"Our External Affairs Minister fulfilled the mandate and conducted himself with utmost dignity and restraint while on foreign soil," Natarajan told reporters here.

The Congress also described as ridiculous any attempt by Pakistan to equate Home Secretary G K Pillai's remarks with Jamaat-ud-Dawah(JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed's anti-India hate speeches.

Qureshi when asked at the joint press conference last night at the end of the talks why Saeed was not being reined in by Pakistan from making anti-India speeches shot back: "I agree that both sides need to create an enabling environment and not let the climate of engagement be vitiated by negative propaganda.

"But, I want to know to what extent did the Indian Home Secretary's statement on the eve of this dialogue help? We both(ministers) are of the opinion that it (Pillai's remarks) was uncalled for."

Natarajan said that the External Affairs Minister himself has said that there was no question of comparing a terror spreading criminal with the Home Secretary.

"Whatever mandate was given to the External Affairs Minister, he carried it in an admirable way...As a party we condemn the statement of the Pakistan Foreign Minister," the Congress spokesperson said.

Asked whether continuing the dialogue with Pakistan was necessary at this point, the spokesperson said, "it has always been our stand that effort should be made to bridge the trust deficit (between India and Pakistan)".

Natarajan, however, added that the talks would be "meaningful" only when acts of terror from Pakistani soil stop and the culprits of 26/11 are brought to justice.