Minister of State for Home Affairs I D Swami Wednesday lambasted Congress president Sonia Gandhi for attacking the Vajpayee government, for inviting Pakistan chief executive General Pervez Musharraf for talks on Jammu & Kashmir.
"The prime minister had spoken to leaders of the opposition over the telephone, before extending an invitation to Musharraf, to visit India. Sonia Gandhi was consulted, but I don't know what she said," Swami told rediff.com.
On why the government dropped conditions it had been insisting on for years, before agreeing to talk to Pakistan, on Kashmir and other issues, he said, "If you see the statement of Musharraf, he has praised Vajpayee for his bold initiative. The prime minister of India, like a great statesman of the world, set aside these conditions in a bid to bring peace and normalcy to the state."
When told that Musharraf, on the contrary, had said that the time had not yet come for him to appeal to militant groups to refrain from violence, he stated, "His statement clearly proves that all these years Pakistan has been
aiding and abetting terrorism and giving them even financial support."
When the Indian position was clarified by Union External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh and the same was done by his counterpart in Pakistan,
what are we talking about on Kashmir? "It is true that both sides have stated their positions, but this does not mean you cannot meet. You got to talk; only then you get anywhere," he said.
If Musharraf insists on meeting Hurriyat leaders, he said India's stand was clear. "The Hurriyat has no role in these talks. This is an invitation from Vajpayee to Musharraf. There is no question of a third party participating in the meeting. Every second day, Hurriyat leaders meet the Pakistani ambassador in Delhi but the government does not stop them," Swami stated.
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