BJP targets Miliband, slams government for ‘U-turn’

January 15th, 2009 - 7:54 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata PartyNew Delhi, Jan 15 (IANS) The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Thursday questioned the Manmohan Singh government’s silence on the US and Britain absolving Islamabad of involvement in the Mumbai carnage and also accused it of a “u-turn” by accepting that the fugitives from Indian law can be tried in Pakistan. Alluding to recent remarks by visiting British Foreign Secretary David Miliband and US ambassador David Mulford, the main opposition party said these assertions were “a dazzling blow to the Indian government’s stand” about the complicity of Pakistan’s state agencies in the Nov 26 Mumbai carnage.

“It is indeed an unfortunate situation where we have a government which is down on its knees, totally failing to react to these statements,” BJP spokesperson Rajiv Pratap Rudy said in a statement.

“The complete failure of the UPA government to clearly rebuff the startling assertions by David Miliband gives weight to Pakistan’s assertion that India has given proof and not evidence,” the BJP spokesperson said.

Miliband said here Tuesday: “I have said publicly that I do not believe that the attacks were directed by the Pakistani state and I think it’s important to restate that.”

The statement contradicted the Indian government’s allegation of the involvement of Pakistani state agencies in the Mumbai terrorist attacks.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said last week the scale and sophistication of the Mumbai attacks showed that they must have had support from some of Pakistan’s official agencies.

Islamabad has blamed the attacks on “non-state actors”.

The US, too, had refused to back India’s contention about the suspected role of Pakistani state agencies in the attacks. “I can’t make accusations without evidence,” Mulford had said here recently.

The BJP also accused the government of shifting its stand over the trial of fugitives, suspected of involvement in the Mumbai attacks, in India. “It seems that after belittling their own position the government is now even shifting its stand,” Rudy said.

“Even worse is the stoic acceptance of the external affairs minister (Pranab Mukherjee) that the trial of fugitives in Pakistan is acceptable. The entire nation deserves an explanation about this U-turn of the government,” he said.

In an interview to Aaj Tak, to be broadcast over the weekend, Mukherjee said that if Pakistan cannot hand over the perpetrators of the carnage to India, then it can try them according to Pakistani laws.

This is widely seen as a climb-down as India had earlier insisted that Islamabad should hand over fugitives from Indian law who are suspected of a hand in the terrorist strikes in Mumbai and elsewhere in India.

The BJP also objected to Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah’s remarks in which he asked for a third-party intervention to settle the dispute.

“His appeal to David Miliband to mediate in Jammu and Kashmir issue is completely unacceptable and the BJP condemns it. This defies the federal fabric of our constitution,” he said.

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