'Zardari call stories bid to divert attention' | india | Hindustan Times
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'Zardari call stories bid to divert attention'

india Updated: Dec 07, 2008 16:15 IST
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Rubbishing reports that he had made a threatening phone call to Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari after Mumbai strikes, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Sunday regretted Islamabad giving credibility to a "hoax" call and said it was a bid to divert attention from the fact that Pakistani elements had launched "attack on India".

Mukherjee said he had last talked to Zardari during his visit to Islamabad in May and that the reports about his telephonic call to the Pakistan President after the Mumbai terror strikes were "misleading".

"We were informed by friends from third countries that Pakistan President Zardari believed that he had received a threatening telephone call from me on November 28, after the attack on Mumbai," Mukherjee said in a statement in New Delhi.

"We immediately clarified to those friends, and we also made it clear to the Pakistan authorities, that I had made no such telephone call," the minister said.

Mukherjee said the only telephonic conversation that he has had with a Pakistani leader since the attack on Mumbai was on the evening of November 28 when he spoke to Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi who was then in New Delhi.

"It is, however, worrying that a neighbouring state might even consider acting on the basis of such a hoax call, try to give it credibility with other states, and confuse the public by releasing the story in part," Mukherjee said.

"I can only ascribe this series of events to those in Pakistan who wish to divert attention from the fact of an attack on India from Pakistani territory by elements in Pakistan," the external affairs minister said.