In a press conference called forth by the Congress on Tuesday regarding comments made by ‘Margdarshaks’ of the Bhartiya Janata Party, former Union Cabinet Minister Anand Sharma condemned the terror attack on Pathankot and raised questions about the nature of peace negotiations that had seemingly transpired during Narendra Modi’s ‘surprise’ visit to Pakistan.
The Congress spokesperson stated that the Pathankot attack was launched after crossing international boundaries which would directly translate to an attack on India. Claiming that the Indian National Congress had always handled the situation with patience, sincerity and maturity, Sharma told the press that instead of dragging incidents towards politics, it was time for India to become one.
“Any indication of softness or weakness from the Indian side is unacceptable to us. It has never been a part of our mentality,” said Sharma.
Entreating the Prime Minister to answer a few questions which would soothe public apprehension and educate them about the direction the country was steering towards, the Congress party member raised the following questions:
1. In the month of August, the NSA talks were called off. After that, the NSA met in Bangkok. Did it result in any mutual agreement which would, when such a situation arises, enable both the countries’ political and judicial systems to manage the situation? Because such information is held by the NSA, it is necessary for them to clarify on this.
2. What kind of satisfactory assurance from Pak to India prompted PM Modi to undertake his surprise visit to Lahore? Was the PM fully satisfied and sure that along with Pakistan's government the ISI and the army were involved in the peace process between the two countries and did they support the same?
3. When the Indian PM landed in Lahore on Dec 25, the NSA General Jhanjua was not present. Was this not some sort of a message to India, that an important part of the system was not supporting the peace process between the two countries; maybe not openly but for sure not supporting the process?
Sharma also mentioned that after the Mumbai attacks, the Congress had introduced a policy which would facilitate a continued bilateral talk between the two neighbours. For legitimacy of the policy, India had asked for assurances and Pakistan had assured them of their support. With the Pathankot attack, Sharma claimed that Pakistan had broken their promise.
The assurance India sought from Pakistan was the prosecution of the masterminds behind the Mumbai terror attacks. Only when these masterminds behind the terror attacks were brought to India and penalized under the Indian judiciary, was India then ready for a comprehensive dialogue with Pakistan.
“It is true that India and Pakistan have to work together to uproot the entire web of terrorists from the Pakistani soil. What kind of assurance did we take from Pakistan that we assured ourselves that all paths were clear for dialogue? The country does not have any information. Only the Prime Minister and the NSA are equipped with this information. That is why we request Prime Minister Modi to take the country in full faith and engage in talk with the prominent opposition parties of the country so that if any assurances are given from Hindustan’s side, the whole country supports the initiative in full agreement,” said Sharma.
The Congress party member also expressed his condolences to the martyrs of the Pathankot terror attack.