India Trying To Wriggle Out Of Talks, Says Qureshi

23 November 2009
The Dawn

Islamabad: Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said on Monday that questions raised by India’s prime minister about the control of the Pakistani army and the country’s aims in Afghanistan were an excuse to delay resumption of talks. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh told CNN International television on Sunday he was not clear if Pakistan’s president was in control of the army and that the country’s objectives in Afghanistan were not necessarily those of the United States. Singh also said he was worried about Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal falling into the wrong hands and complained that Islamabad had not brought to justice perpetrators of last year’s Mumbai attack. ‘I am disappointed,’ Qureshi said. ‘My feeling is India is dragging its feet and is looking for excuses not to resume the composite dialogue.’ He also rejected Singh’s doubts about Pakistan’s objectives in Afghanistan, saying the world recognised Islamabad’s resolve in fighting militancy and its sacrifices. Referring to Singh’s question about who was in charge of the Pakistani army, Qureshi said: ‘These statements do not help and this is not in line with reality.’ He also dismissed the Indian leader’s remark about the safety of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons. Foreign Office spokesman Abdul Basit, commenting on Singh’s remarks about the Kashmir issue, reminded India that Jammu and Kashmir was a disputed territory and stressed that the dispute should be resolved and settled in accordance with United Nations resolutions. Basit said the issue of Jammu and Kashmir was awaiting settlement in accordance with UN resolutions and aspirations of the people of territory. ‘India is only one of the parties to the dispute. It cannot, therefore, unilaterally change the status of the dispute or place preconditions in open contradiction to the right to self-determination of Kashmiris,’ the spokesman said.