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Dr Singh's remarks an attempt to win votes: Pak

By Rezaul H Laskar in Islamabad
Last updated on: April 11, 2009 23:59 IST
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Pakistan on Saturday reacted angrily to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's comments linking resumption of the composite dialogue to the prosecution of the perpetrators of the Mumbai attacks, describing it as an attempt to win votes by creating and cashing in 'on anti-Pakistan frenzy'.

A statement issued late Saturday night by the Foreign Office spokesman also referred to Singh's comments about terrorists interfering in India's upcoming general election and said 'such remarks reveal proclivity in India to win votes by creating, encouraging and encashing on anti-Pakistan frenzy'.

The statement did not refer to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh by name but made it clear that the 'statements from New Delhi' were 'dismissive of the resumption of the composite dialogue process' and held 'Pakistan responsible for ensuring incident-free polls in India'.

'It should be abundantly clear that the resumption of dialogue is not a concession by one country to the other. It is in the mutual interest of the two countries and peoples. We hope the Indian leadership would recognise this imperative sooner rather than later,' the statement said.

Pakistan had extended 'every cooperation to India in dealing with the aftermath of the tragic terror attacks in Mumbai', the statement said.

'We will maintain our principled stance in the hope that India will revisit the serious issues of this region upon completion of the election process,' the statement said.

It said Pakistan wants 'constructive engagement with all neighbours, particularly India' for creating a regional environment conducive to peace, stability and development.

A joint mechanism exists for tackling terrorism and it 'would be absurd to expect that Pakistan can guarantee the security of India against terrorist attacks, militancy or violence, the seeds of which are widespread,' it said.

The Foreign Office said that Islamabad had 'so far refrained from responding to the Indian campaign aimed at denigrating Pakistan's security institutions on the understanding that issues and concerns relating to terrorism should be addressed within the existing bilateral framework'.

In an interaction with media persons on Friday, Prime Minister Singh said the Taliban were a "serious threat" and terrorists were trying to interfere with the election process.

He also said the dialogue process with Pakistan would not resume till Islamabad showed sincerity in prosecuting the perpetrators of the Mumbai attacks.

Relations between New Delhi and Islamabad nose-dived in the wake of the Mumbai attacks, which India blamed on Pakistan-based elements, including the banned Lashker-e-Tayiba terror group. India suspended the composite dialogue process in the aftermath of the attacks.

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Rezaul H Laskar in Islamabad
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