Remove gun on our head to restart talks, India tells Pakistan

New Delhi, Nov 28 ( India cannot negotiate with Pakistan while having a gun pointed at its head, Minister of State for External Affairs Shashi Tharoor said Saturday, reacting to Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi accusing India of being “myopic”.

In an interview telecast on CNN-IBN Saturday, Qureshi said that India was being narrow-minded in not coming to the table for talks.

“I think you (India) are being myopic. You are being narrow-minded. You have to look at the boarder picture and the broader picture demands cooperation and not confrontation,” he said at Port of Spain, where he is leading the Pakistani delegation at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in the absence of Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani.

He also said that India had provided “inadequate” evidence to prosecute Jamaat-ud-Dawa chief Hafiz Saeed, who India has named as the mastermind of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks.

In Delhi, Tharoor retorted that any evidence that had to be unearthed against Saeed had to be done in Pakistan itself.

“Surely the evidence is available in their country, where the man has been conducting his nefarious activities. So, it seems to me that in saying that the evidence is not enough, the Pakistani government is essentially saying that its own investigative capabilities are not what they should be,” Tharoor said here.

On the demand to restart talks, Tharoor said that there had to be adequate progress by Pakistan for India to return to the table. India had frozen all talks after the Nov 26-29, 2008 Mumbai carnage that claimed the lives of 166 people, including 26 foreigners.

“We know that there is gun pointed at your head, but you still got to talk to us. Will you first get the gun removed from our head, then we will talk to you happily,” he said.

“If we can see some real action on the two things that we have been asking for in a year, we would be very happy to persuade the public and parliament that we need to engage in serious talks”.