NDA delegation submits memorandum to President Patil over Indo-Pak joint statement

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New Delhi, July 28 (ANI): Members of Parliament of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance on Tuesday met President Pratibha Patil and submitted a memorandum on the recent India-Pakistan joint statement.

"The government has just formed and after the first foreign tour of Prime Minister, one-by-one facts about the Indo-Pakistan Joint Statement have come to light which have raised a lot of doubts among people of this country," said Lal Krishna Advani, Leader of the Opposition in Parliament and senior BJP leader in the capital.

"Suddenly the country witnessed that, the joint statement that was issued after meeting Pakistan's Prime Minister, highlighted that India has agreed that whether Pakistan takes any necessary action against terrorism or not, the talks between them would continue," said Advani told media men.

NDA leader Advani pointed out India agreeing to include in the joint statement a reference to the Pakistani province of Baluchistan, where Pakistan accuses India of fomenting an insurgency, sent wrong message about Indian role.

"Till this date, Balochistan had never been mentioned in any talks. This is the first time it has been mentioned. It was mentioned in such a way as if we are responsible for it and now we are saying that we will not let that happen again," Advani said.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh signed a joint statement with his Pakistani counterpart Yusuf Raza Gilani during their meeting in Sharm-el-Sheikh in Egypt recently.

The joint statement included contentious issues like Balochistan which trigged critical response from almost all Opposition parties in the Parliament.

During their meet at Sharm el-Sheikh, Dr. Singh and his Pakistani counterpart Gilani agreed that the Mumbai incident should be de-linked from the dialogue process between the two countries.

Opposition leaders view the joint statement being a departure from New Delhi's long held stand that a resumption of dialogue could only take place if Pakistan acted against the militants behind last year's Mumbai terror attacks.

Though Dr. Singh in a news conference shortly afterwards, ruled out resumption of talks with Pakistan until the Mumbai attackers were brought to justice, critics said the damage had already been done.

Dr. Singh will make a statement on the join statement in Parliament on Wednesday (July 29) to counter the criticism by Opposition parties that he conceded ground to the Indian neighbour.

On Wednesday, Dr. Singh is expected to speak at the end of a parliamentary discussion on recent foreign policy issues. The debate could indicate how far the government could go to normalise relations with Pakistan and restart the peace process, analysts say.

Islamabad denies state agencies had any role in the Mumbai attacks that killed at least 166 people and says it will prosecute those accused of involvement in the attacks.

But Pakistan wants India to return to peace talks without conditions such as action against Mumbai attack planners and militant groups India holds responsible for carrying out bombings in Indian cities. (ANI)

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