Senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Yashwant Sinha on Monday lashed out at Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde for not contradicting Pakistani Interior Minister Rehman Malik's statements, and said that the relationship between the two Asian neighbours will improve only if New Delhi confronts Islamabad with the truth of the situation.
"Our government and our Home Minister has shown weakness by not responding to Rehman Malik in kind. He should have immediately responded in kind. If he (Malik) used hard words, he (Shinde) should have used hard words. If he (Malik) insulted India, he (Shinde) should have said that we don't accept it. He (Shinde) should have contradicted the Pakistani Interior Minister's statement then and there," he told mediapersons outside the Parliament here.
Sinha, who was the country's Finance Minister during the NDA regime headed by Atal Bihari Vajpayee, said there is no meaning of the government to government-level talks between India and Pakistan if Islamabad comes forward with this attitude as reflected in the statements of Malik.
"There is no meaning of any government to government-level talks between India and Pakistan if this is the attitude that Pakistan has. Pakistan does not stand by the commitments it makes. It did not stand by the commitment it made to Mr. Vajpayee and the present Government of India never bothered about it, never wanted to hold Pakistan to their word given in Islamabad in January 2004," said Sinha.
"And this is our problem that we think that if we keep quiet in the face of their assault, then relations will improve. Relations will not improve in this manner. Relations will improve only if we confront Pakistan with the truth of the situation," he added.
Malik, who was on a three-day visit in Delhi to introduce a new and easier visa process for cross-border travel, made some unwarranted remarks, which came under sharp criticism.
Malik, had during his India visit, said nobody wants to see the recurrence of incidents like Mumbai blasts, Samjhauta blasts or Babri Masjid issue.
He, however, later denied comparing the Babri demolition to the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks, saying he was misquoted.
Home Minister Shinde earlier today informed the Rajya Sabha that the Pakistani Interior Minister lied on the charges on which Jamaat-ud-Dawa (Jud) chief Hafiz Saeed was arrested.
Malik had told the Indian Government that he was arrested on the charges of hatching the 26-11 conspiracy, which was not the case as the Indian government found out when it procured copies of the FIRs and judgements of the courts.
Deputy leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha, Ravi Shankar Prasad, later expressed outrage that Malik was lying so far and that this has been brought to light only now.
During the Zero Hour, the BJP raised the issue of irresponsible statements made by Rehman Malik during his India visit and sought a reply from the government on the issue. (ANI)