Sharm-el Sheikh statement a shame, says BJP
New Delhi: The Bharatiya Janata Party on Wednesday launched a frontal assault on the Government for compromising on India's stated position on Pakistan in the Sharm-el Sheikh joint statement and said the "waters of the seven seas will not be able to wash the shame" brought on the country through this flawed initiative.
"The distinction between the aggressor and the victim has been completely obliterated," BJP leader Yashwant Sinha, also a former external affairs minister, said while alluding to a line in the joint statement that says both countries recognise terrorism as the "chief threat".
Sinha was speaking during a debate on the July 16 India-Pakistan joint statement in Parliament that was issued after talks between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Pakistani counterpart Yousuf Raza Gilani at Sharm-el-Sheikh in Egypt.
The controversial statement, which delinks action on terror from the composite dialogue process, has been decried by the opposition as a capitulation to Pakistan over the issue of terrorism.
Sinha also exposed what he called "a complete turnaround" in the Government's position on terrorism emanating from Pakistan in less than a month from Manmohan Singh's meeting with Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari in Yekaterinburg on June 16 and his meeting with Gilani on July 16.
At Yekaterinburg, Manmohan Singh had told Zardari within earshot of the media that he had "a limited mandate" to tell him that the Pakistani territory should not be allowed to be used for terror attacks against India.
A month later, the discussions moved beyond terrorism to cover other issues as well, Sinha contended.
"In Yekaterinburg, the Prime Minister was confident and assertive and we were proud of him. But there was a complete turnaround in the stated position in less than a month," Sinha said, describing the November 2008 Mumbai carnage as "an attack of Pakistan on India".
Sinha also attacked the government for including a reference to Balochistan in the joint statement that has emboldened Pakistani leaders to accuse India of involvement in fomenting insurgency in the region.
"Why was Balochistan included in a bilateral document? No sooner was the ink dry on the joint statement, Pakistani leaders were accusing India of supporting insurgency in Balochistan?" he said.
"All the waters of seven seas will not wash the shame at Sharm-el-Sheikh," Sinha said amid applause from opposition benches.
This elicited a quick intervention from Manmohan Singh. The prime minister told parliament that Pakistan did not give any dossier to India on Balochistan when he met Gilani in Egypt, as was reported by a section of the media in Pakistan.
"No such dossier was given," Manmohan Singh said.