Expressing disappointment at India calling off a meeting between him and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj in New York on UNGA sidelines, Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Friday termed New Delhi’s decision as “unfortunate”.
Qureshi alleged that “internal pressure” forced New Delhi to cancel the meeting between the foreign ministers of India and Pakistan in New York later this month.
The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) announced the decision to cancel the FM-level talks in view of the “brutal” killing of three policemen in Jammu and Kashmir as well as the release of postal stamps “glorifying” Kashmiri militant Burhan Wani.
“It is unfortunate that India has not given a positive response. Indian has once again wasted an opportunity for peace,” Qureshi told media persons in Islamabad.
He said that it was important to sit and talk for the sake of peace and stability in the region.
“The refusal of India shows that Indian government is facing internal pressure,” he said.
“It seems that India is already preparing for its elections due in the country next year,” Qureshi was quoted as saying by the Express Tribune.
He said it seems that “India has priorities other than dialogue, adding there is a group in the New Delhi that doesn’t want talks to take place.
He went on to say that if India doesn’t want dialogue, then Pakistan also won’t be in a haste either.
But, Qureshi reiterated that dialogue is the only way to come to the resolution of any issue, the report said.
He said the world should see that “Pakistan has held a positive outlook towards the situation while India’s attitude has not been so forthcoming”.
“We said that we want dialogue - but in a dignified manner,” he added.
Announcing the cancellation of the New York meeting, External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said in New Delhi that the incidents “exposed” the “true face” of Pakistan’s new Prime Minister Imran Khan to the world as well as Islamabad’s evil agenda behind the proposal for talks.
“The latest brutal killings of our security personnel by Pakistan-based entities and the recent release of a series of 20 postage stamps by Pakistan glorifying a terrorist and terrorism confirm that Pakistan will not mend its ways,” Kumar said.
He noted that “two deeply disturbing developments have taken place” since yesterday’s announcement of a meeting between the foreign ministers of India and Pakistan in New York later this month.
“In view of the changed situation, there will be no meeting between the Foreign Ministers of India and Pakistan in New York,” he said.
Kumar said talks with Pakistan in such an environment would be “meaningless”.
Former High Commissioner to India, Abdul Basit said he was surprised by India’s move as New Delhi should not have agreed for it in the first place due to forthcoming elections but after agreeing for a meeting it was more surprising that it backed out.
Former advisor on foreign affairs Sartaj Aziz said that it was “unfortunate” that India cancelled the meeting as it would have created an environment for peace.
Former foreign minister Khurshid Kasuri said the cancelation reminded him of the Agra summit when everything was ready for joint statement but India backed out at the last minute.
(With PTI inputs)