Sonia backs PM, skips Balochistan

  • Saroj Nagi, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Jul 31, 2009 00:14 IST

Congress president Sonia Gandhi avoided referring to the Indo-Pak joint statement or Balochistan while backing Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s “firm and unequivocal statement” on foreign policy issues, particularly on Pakistan, in the Lok Sabha. She stressed that Pakistan needs to act against terror before a composite dialogue can get underway.

Addressing her MPs at the Congress Parliamentary Party meeting on Thursday, Sonia said: “No one should be in any doubt on our party’s position vis a vis Pakistan. It remains unchanged. We support the resumption of the dialogue process with Pakistan but only after it has demonstrated its seriousness to bring the perpetrators of the Mumbai terror attacks to justice and to prevent its territory from being used to launch terror attacks on any part of the country.”

These, she added, are imperatives for restoring confidence and building an environment conducive to any meaningful dialogue.

In confining herself to the PM’s statement in Parliament (on Wednesday) and avoiding any reference to the Sharm-el Shaikh joint statement or Balochistan, Sonia may have drawn a line of distinction between the party and the government that has to deal with it.

The joint statement had led to an Opposition furore in Parliament and unease in the Congress for delinking terror from the composite dialogue and including Balochistan.

On Thursday, in fact, the Opposition tried to put the government on the mat over the B-word when Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee was speaking on the subject.

But AICC general secretary Rahul Gandhi dismissed suggestions of any difference between the party and the government on the issue.

“You media have created such an impression…The government and the party are absolutely one,” he told reporters on Thursday.

But even after the PM spoke on Wednesday, party leaders privately maintained that while the de-linking issue had been addressed by re-linking it, questions over the inclusion of Balochistan remain.

Though it was likely to have come up, there was no firm word whether Balochistan figured in the briefing Foreign Secretary Shiv Shankar Menon gave to Congress members who were to participate in the two-day Lok Sabha debate on the Prime Minster’s foreign visit. But other than P.C. Chako, the others — Union Minister Salman Khurshid, Manish Tewari, Sandeep Dikshit and Sanjay Nirupam — did not get to speak for lack of time.

From Around the Web
Sponsored by Revcontent

also read

Text of India-Pakistan joint statement
Show comments

Steps to disable Ad Blocker on your browser


In order to serve content on our website, we rely on advertising revenue which helps us to ensure that we continue to serve high quality unbiased journalism. From our end, we will aim to show clean and unobtrusive ads to provide you with a great browsing experience.

Request to please follow the steps below and once done, please refresh your page.


For Chrome and Ad BlockPlus users

1.Press the ‘ABP’ icon in your toolbar at top right of this page

2. Click on ‘Enabled on this site’; this should now change to ‘Disabled on this site’


chrome



For Chrome and Ad Block users

1.Press the ‘AdBlock’ icon in your toolbar

2.Select the option ‘Don’t run on pages on this domain’ and then click ‘exclude’ on the pop up


chrome

Steps to disable Ad Blocker on your browser


In order to serve content on our website, we rely on advertising revenue which helps us to ensure that we continue to serve high quality unbiased journalism. From our end, we will aim to show clean and unobtrusive ads to provide you with a great browsing experience.

Request to please follow the steps below and once done, please refresh your page.


For Mozilla and AdBlock Plus (ABP) users

1.Press the ‘ABP’ icon in your toolbar

2.Select the option ‘Disable on hindustantimes.com’


chrome

Steps to disable Ad Blocker on your browser


In order to serve content on our website, we rely on advertising revenue which helps us to ensure that we continue to serve high quality unbiased journalism. From our end, we will aim to show clean and unobtrusive ads to provide you with a great browsing experience.

Request to please follow the steps below and once done, please refresh your page.


For Internet Explorer and AdBlock Plus users

1.Press the ‘AdBlock Plus’ icon in your status bar at the bottom of the screen

2.Select the option ‘Disable on hindustantimes.com’


chrome

Steps to disable Ad Blocker on your browser


In order to serve content on our website, we rely on advertising revenue which helps us to ensure that we continue to serve high quality unbiased journalism. From our end, we will aim to show clean and unobtrusive ads to provide you with a great browsing experience.

Request to please follow the steps below and once done, please refresh your page.


For Safari and AdBlock users

1.Press the ‘AdBlock’ icon in your toolbar

2.Select the option ‘Don't run pages on this domain’ and then click 'exclude'


chrome