BJP flays Pranab’s silence on Pakistan’s Kashmir suggestion

May 23rd, 2008 - 1:46 am ICT by admin  

New Delhi, May 22 (IANS) The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Thursday criticised External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee for his “conspicuous silence” on Pakistan’s suggestion that the two countries go back to the UN resolution of 1948 on Kashmir which suggests plebiscite. “The suggestion of the Pakistan foreign minister (Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi) on Kashmir means a plebiscite in the state. BJP is deeply concerned about the complete silence of Mukherjee on the issue,” party spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad told reporters here.

“BJP takes Mukherjee’s conspicuous silence seriously. It should have been controverted there and then,” Prasad said.

The matter cropped up during Mukherjee’s two-day visit to Islamabad concluding Thursday in which he and Qureshi reviewed the progress made under the fourth round of the Composite Dialogue.

India is opposed to a plebiscite in the Muslim-majority border state that has overshadowed ties between the two neighbours. The two countries have fought three wars over Kashmir and the state has been facing terrorist insurgency for the last almost two decades.

The UN resolution also states that Pakistan should withdraw from Pakistan-administered Kashmir and Aksai Chin before the plebiscite.

“After the UN resolution, the two countries signed the Shimla Agreement in 1972 on Kashmir. Then in February 1999 the Lahore Declaration was signed setting the rules for bilateral relations. It was followed by the Joint Declaration in January 2004 when Pakistan promised it would neither cooperate with nor encourage terrorist activities from its soil,” Prasad noted.

Noting that there was no need to go back to the UN resolution when these agreements were in place, he also said the Indian parliament had passed a unanimous resolution in 1994 saying Pakistan-administered Kashmir was part of India.

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