BJP raps Pranab for keeping 'mum' on Plebiscite issue

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New Delhi, May 22 (UNI) The BJP today questioned External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee for not reacting sharply to Pakistan's renewed efforts to rake up plebicite issue to resolve Jammu and Kashmir tangle.

"We are concerned over India's conspicuous silence when Pakistan External Affairs Minister during the official talks on Kashmir referred to the UN resolution of 1948 talking about plebiscite," BJP spokesman Ravi Shankar Prasad said.

"A very sharp reaction was expected from a 'seasoned and experienced' minister like Mr Pranab Mukherjee over Pakistan's reference to the UN resolution. But he preferred to remain silent. We will like to know why Mr Mukherjee chose not to react to it? he said, adding the BJP had taken the matter very seriously.

The party referred to the talks held in 1971 between the then Pakistan Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Indira Gandhi, the Lahore resolution in 1998 during former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee regime and the January 4, 2004 joint statement issued by Mr Vajpayee and Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf.

"The question of plebiscite to resolve Kashmir problem was never mentioned by Pakistan in all these meetings," it pointed out.

Pakistan reminding India suddenly of the 1948 UN resolution, which has called for resolving the Kashmir issue through the plebiscite "is a matter of concern" and the Indian side should not have 'stomached' it quietly, Mr Prasad said.

The BJP, he said, would like to remind the UPA government of the unanimous resolution adopted by Parliament in 1994 during the Narasimha Rao Government which not only spoke of Jammu and Kashmir as 'part and parcel" of India but also talked of the Pak-occupied Kashmir as integral part of the country.

Meanwhile, the Party took exception to Home Minister Shivraj Patil equating Parliament attack convict Mohammad Afzal with condemned Indian prisoner in Pakistan Sarabjit Singh.

"Perhaps our Home Minister does not know that Afzal is an Indian and Sarabjit Singh, a victim of mistaken identity, is not a Pakistani but an Indian national languishing in Pakistan jail," Mr Prasad said.

He said the Home Minister's remark had forced them to change "our accusations against the UPA government that it is not merely a government soft on terror but a terrorist friendly government".

Besides, Mr Patil had provided leverage to Pakistan to meddle into India's internal matters, he alleged.

UNI KAS/MCN AKJ GC1738

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