After being pilloried in India for his "undiplomatic" conduct and playing the spoiler, Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi denied saying his Indian counterpart SM Krishna was getting directions from New Delhi during their talks in Islamabad. He also said he would visit India, but not for a "leisure trip".
Days after he raised Indian hackles by saying that Krishna was getting directions from New Delhi during Thursday's talks, Qureshi told reporters: "I had never said that the Indian external (affairs) minister repeatedly went out during the meeting to receive instructions from Delhi."
Qureshi clarified that it was not Krishna who was on the phone, rather it was one of the Indian delegates who kept updating New Delhi and receiving instructions, The News reported.
The denial comes despite his televised comments on Friday, a day after the talks and while Krishna was still in Islamabad, in which he said: "India was narrowing the dialogue... The Indian foreign minister received foreign policy directions from New Delhi repeatedly during our meeting."
Answering a query from a reporter on Saturday on Krishna's invitation to him to visit New Delhi for another round of parleys, Qureshi said: "I will not visit India for a leisure trip. I would only go if India is ready for meaningful, result-oriented and constructive talks and the environment is conducive for the parleys."
Thursday's talks to bridge the trust deficit between the two countries ended in a stalemate.
Qureshi has made the acceptance of the invitation conditional on India's willingness to talk on all issues that have marred relations for decades, but he feels that Indians are not yet ready for it, Dawn reported on Sunday.
He said: "We listened to their concerns about Mumbai and terrorism and they too should have listened to our reservations. If they are answerable to their people, we too as a democracy are answerable to parliament and people of Pakistan."
He added that the issues raised at the talks were not new and were part of the suspended Composite Dialogue process that Pakistan want to be resurrected. But India says resumption of their full dialogue was dependent on what action Islamabad took against the perpetrators and masterminds of the Mumbai carnage in November 2008.