India flays Pakistan over comments on J&K election

Written by Political Bureau | New Delhi, Nov 21 | Updated: Nov 23 2008, 04:40am hrs
India onFriday lashed out at Pakistan for commenting on Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) elections and asked Islamabad to play a responsible role in the region in its own interest and not interfere in India's internal matters.

Responding to comments made by the Pakistan foreign office spokesperson on the ongoing elections in J&K, external affairs ministry spokesperson Vishnu Prakash said It is most unfortunate that Pakistan has commented on an internal matter of India. We strongly object to these remarks.

Pakistan foreign ministry spokesman Muhammad Sadiq said in Islamabad on Thursday that elections in Jammu and Kashmir could not be construed as ''authentic expression'' of the aspirations of the people of the state.

According to sources, Indo-Pak peace process, which is in its fifth round, is resuming when deepening economic crisis is hurting both sides.

However, what is making New Delhi optimistic about the resumption of peace process is the decline in violence levels in J&K, also there has been decline in infiltration from across the line, since the month of June. Also, what needs to be highlighted is the heavy turn out of voters in the first phase of polling in J&K which is also being attributed to non intervention of Pakistani terrorist and ISI.

Biggest news is that the first round of voting in J&K went off peacefully. Pakistans reaction to the successful conduct of first phase of polling in Jammu and Kashmir a reflection of frustration in Islamabad, said sources.

The big turnout of electorate despite separatists' campaign against the polls made it clear nobody is listening to Hurriyat, sources said here.

As part of composite dialogue, the home secretary will also be visiting Pakistan on November 25 to meet his counterpart in Islamabad.

This will be followed by a visit of the Pakistan foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, where India could face some embarrassing questions regarding the probe of Samjauhtha blasts.

Although both India and Pakistan have remained cautious and have adopted a measured approach in blaming each other for the 2007 Samjauhta blasts but Indian investigative agencies have initially pointed fingers on Lashkar-e-Toiba and Jaish in collusion with HUJI for the carnage which killed more than 65 people most of them Pakistani citizens.

According to sources, India, in one of the joint anti terror meetings, had also handed over a photograph of a suspect and also mentioned the names of other suspects of Samjauhtha to their Pakistani counterparts.

But with the latest dramatic twist in the Samjautha probe, which shows the involvement of Hindu militant, and an army personnel have nullified the previous findings giving Pakistan a leverage to substantiate its claim that India blames Pakistan for all the attacks without proper investigation and verification.

However, sources said that India is open minded and we just follow our investigations.