Islamabad: The ill-conceived India-Pakistan dialogue hit a nasty road bump yesterday with the foreign ministers meet not only failing to yield any tangible results but also deteriorating into verbal jousting at a joint press conference. With the Indian side aggressively pressing home their terrorism agenda an evasive Pakistan tried to turn the tables by raising a welter of issues ranging from old favourite Jammu & Kashmir to recent entrant on the bilateral agenda, Balochistan.
|External affairs minister SM Krishna with his Pakistani counterpart SM Qureshi|
In a well orchestrated move, Pakistani troops also opened fire on six Indian positions across the LoC in J&K just minutes after the joint press conference of both foreign ministers ended.
At the press meet what was on obvious display was the shiftiness of Pakistan in addressing all charges related to the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack. The familiar refrain of 'judicial processes' taking their time was once again to be heard. Grand assertions of 'sincerity', 'peaceful relations', 'trust' and 'confidence' were sounding false even as they were being made and by the end of the press meet the hollowness of these assertions were out in the open for the entire world to see as a free-for-all slanging match ensued.
The joint press conference started around 9 pm instead of the scheduled 2.15 pm, after both sides met repeatedly to sort out issues. At the end of it all an irritatingly long speech from Pakistani foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi started off the press meet and the grandiose phrases and sweet sentiments on offer easily aroused suspicions that nothing of substance had been achieved in the inordinately long meet.
With each side allowed four questions the testy responses gave only a hint that all was not well till Qureshi threw open the session for additional questions, in what can now be seen as a pre-planned move. On cue, as it were, the Pakistani press corps launched a tirade hurling hostile questions at Krishna about Kashmir and Balochistan and even accusing Qureshi of not standing up firmly enough against India.
Asked about India's "role" in Balochistan, Krishna responded, "Forget about credible evidence, we have not received a shred of evidence".