Jaswant drills holes in Indo-Pak joint statement

New Delhi, April 20 | Updated: Apr 21 2005, 05:30am hrs
Welcoming the UPA governments policy of continuing the peace process with Pakistan initiated by Vajpayee government, BJP, however, said that there were certain gaps and omits in the April 18 joint stamenent by Prime Minsietr Manmohan Singh and President Pervez Musharraf.

Speaking to mediapersons here on Wednesday, former foreign and defence minister Jaswant Singh wanted to know why the statement omits any reference to promoting terrorism, highlighted in the January 6, 2004 statement, saying that an omission of this is extremely worrisome. He also demanded a clarification on the governments statement that it is working with Pakistan for a final settlement of the J&K issue.

Stating that UPA governments pledge on not allowing terrorism to impede the peace process was objectionable and dangerous, he said that it defeats the entire rationale of Indias anti-terrorism policy.

He also said the joint statement did not mention a word about the grant of MFN status to India by Pakistan and why Indian goods and services to Pakistan continue to be denied transit through Pakistan.

Mr Singh said that the Prime Ministers assurance to Pakistan to re-examine the structure and height of the Baglihar dam also gave cause for concern.

We feel thet the dam is not in violation of the Indus Water Treaty and we should be careful when talking of a re-examinsation, he asserted.

Quoting from a report in the Washington Post, which said that an agreement on troops reduction in Siachen had been arrived at, Mr Singh demanded an explanation from the PM in Parliament on whether such an agreement had indeed been arrived at.

Some other issues of concern that he raised were Pakistan deciding who from J&K should be granted visas for the bus to Muzaffarabad. Also the manner in which Hurriyat members were granted access to the Pakistan High Commission during President Musharrafs visit was objectionable interference in the workings of our republic.