Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad on Monday attacked the Modi government for giving Pakistan “an escape route” on the NSA-level talks in which New Delhi could have handed over “tons of evidence” of Islamabad’s involvement in terror related attacks in India.
He also said the government had not done its “homework properly” as it should have conveyed to Islamabad its objections to Pakistan National Security Adviser Sartaj Aziz’s decision to meet the Hurriyat leaders prior to his talks with Indian counterpart Ajit Doval.
“Our government slept over it and woke up only 24 hours before the proposed talks and in the process made a laughing stock of itself. The agenda could have been firmed up well in advance,” Azad told HT.
He also attacked the Hurriyat leaders for playing the spoilers in bilateral engagements between India and Pakistan. “They are knocking at wrong doors and always try to approach our government via Pakistan. This will not help them achieve anything,” Azad said.
Recalling the UPA government’s initiative to hold three round-table conferences in 2006 and 2007 on Jammu and Kashmir during his tenure as the chief minister, Azad said the Hurriyat leaders had then “missed the bus” by refusing to participate in such meetings attended by leaders of major political parties of the state and eminent people from different walks of life.
“It was a great opportunity for them to express their views and contribute in finding solutions to problems facing the state given that the conferences were chaired by no less a person than the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh himself.”
Azad wondered if Pakistan would allow a meeting between visiting Indian dignitaries and the “disgruntled elements” of that country on its soil. “We have never done such an absurd thing in the past nor will do in future. Like Hurriyat, Pakistan is also knocking at the wrong doors and should desist from such pre-conditions to enable the peace talks to succeed,” he said, terming as “uncalled for and undesirable” Islamabad’s stand to meet Kashmiri separatists prior to the NSA-level dialogue.