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Congress slams Qureshi’s comment as ‘uncalled for’

New Delhi, July 16 (Calcutta Tube) The Congress Friday termed as ‘uncalled for, unjustified and condemnable’ the remark by Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi that External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna did not have the mandate for talks, and said India does not need a ‘certificate’ from Qureshi on the issue.

‘We don’t want a certificate from the Pakistani foreign minister whether Krishna had a mandate for talks. He had the full mandate,’ Congress spokesperson Jayanthi Natarajan told reporters here, reacting to Qureshi’s critical remarks about Krishna at a news conference in Islamabad .

Qureshi’s comments came a day after his talks with Krishna in Islamabad Thursday.

The Congress also hit out at Qureshi for comparing ‘a known criminal like Hafiz Saeed’ (Lashkar-e-Taiba founder) with India’s Home Secretary G.K. Pillai, saying it was ‘unacceptable’.

On Thursday, when asked at a joint news conference about the anti-India speeches by Saeed, Qureshi said that the ‘statement by Pillai that there was an ISI hand in the 26/11 attacks too did not help’.

Natarajan said Qureshi, who adopted a moderate tone ‘other than the criticism about Pillai’, appeared to be ‘addressing the sensibilities of the domestic constituencies’ in his press conference Friday after criticism by the Pakistani media.

The Congress spokesperson also claimed that Krishna had ‘fulfilled his mission successfully’.

Asked why Krishna had kept mum while Pillai was criticised, she said that ‘he (Krishna) was exercising utmost restraint and keeping the dignity while on a foreign soil’.

Maintaining that India should continue the ‘engagement with Pakistan’, Natarajan said the ‘Indo-Pak dialogue would not be meaningful’ unless Pakistan takes effective action against the ‘perpetrators of the 26/11 terror attackers and stops cross-border terrorism’.

Earlier, Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi termed Qureshi’s remark against Pillai as ‘ridiculous’. ‘I don’t think there is any basis for comparison of statements by Hafiz Saeed or Salahuddin with the home secretary,’ he said.

Singhvi said the ‘home secretary was simply making a statement of fact’ as revealed by Mumbai terror accused David Headley to Indian investigators. ‘It is only India’s stand and there can be no comparison,’ Singhvi said.

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