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‘Election over, business as usual’: Congress on Sushma Swaraj-Shah Qureshi photo-op

Congress took a dig at External Affairs Minister Sushma Swarajand her Pakistani counterpart Shah Mehmood Qureshi’s photos at they sat next to each other during a joint call on Kyrgyz president.

india Updated: May 23, 2019 10:04 IST
Press Trust of India
Sushma Swaraj,Shah Qureshi,Shah Mehmood Qureshi
Sushma Swaraj was seen talking to Pakistani foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi during a Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) meeting in Bishkek.(Burhaan Kinu/HT PHOTO)

The Congress on Wednesday slammed the Modi government over what it called “foreign minister-level talks” with Pakistan, alleging with the end of electoral politics pro-Pakistan policy has begun.

The sharp attack came after External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and her Pakistani counterpart Shah Mehmood Qureshi exchanged pleasantries during a Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) meeting in Bishkek on Wednesday and sat next to each other during a joint call on Kyrgyz president.

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Reacting to the development, Congress’ chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala tweeted, “Election Over, Votes Garnered, Pulwama Martyrs Forgotten!” “Foreign Minister-level talks with Pakistan begin, business as usual!” he added.

Pakistan's new Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi listens during a news conference at the Foreign Ministry in Islamabad, Pakistan. ( REUTERS )

Electoral politics over, pro-Pakistan policy begins, he said, posting a photograph of the two leaders sitting next to each other.

Swaraj and Qureshi attended the meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM) of SCO, which was founded at a summit in Shanghai in 2001 by the presidents of Russia, China, Kyrgyz Republic, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

Pakistani media reported that the two leaders sat next to each other during a multilateral meeting of the Foreign Ministers of the SCO.

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According to the photos published by the Pakistani media, Swaraj and Qureshi were seen seated next to each other.

On being asked about the Swaraj-Qureshi meeting, the MEA sources said the two leaders only exchanged pleasantries.

“There was no meeting between them,” they said.

The picture of the two leaders is from a joint call on on Kyrgyz President Sooronbay Jeenbekov, they said.

Swaraj arrived in Bishkek in the Kyrgyz capital on Tuesday to attend the SCO Foreign Ministers meeting.

India was granted the membership of the SCO along with Pakistan in 2017.

Tensions between India and Pakistan escalated after the February 14 Pulwama attack by Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terror group which killed 40 CRPF personnel.

Amid mounting outrage, the Indian Air Force carried out a counter-terror operation, hitting a JeM training camp in Balakot, deep inside Pakistan on February 26.

The next day, Pakistan Air Force retaliated and downed a MiG-21 in an aerial combat and captured an Indian pilot, who was handed over to India on March 1.

First Published: May 23, 2019 09:38 IST

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