New York, Sep 29 (IANS) Accusing Pakistan of raking up the Kashmir issue as a ploy to divert attention from its internal problems, External Affairs Minister S. M. Krishna has discounted the possibility of a meeting with his Pakistani counterpart here.
'Well it is not on the cards,' he told reporters here after delivering a speech slamming Pakistan at the Asia Society here when asked whether he would meet Shah Mehmood Qureshi on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session.
However, the dialogue between the two countries will continue when Qureshi visits India, he said asking, 'How can you nullify India-Pak talks?'
'I have invited foreign minister Qureshi to come to India and he has very graciously accepted my invitation,' he said. 'I am looking forward to his visit to India so that we can take up from where he left in Islamabad.'
Earlier, in his speech Krishna took strong exception to Qureshi's call for a 'plebiscite' in Jammu and Kashmir saying India does conduct a 'plebiscite' every five years in the form of elections and only separatists prevented Kashmiris from exercising their franchise.
'It is with a sense of genuine disappointment that I react to the unacceptable references to the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir made by foreign minister Qureshi in his address at the United Nations,' he said.
'Pakistan is a country that has enormous internal challenges confronting it,' said Krishna. 'Such unsolicited and untenable remarks will not and indeed, cannot direct attention from the multiple problems Pakistan needs to tackle for the common good of its people and indeed of the entire region.'
'There is nothing new in what they have been saying,' he said, noting that Pakistan appeared to have dug out the 'plebiscite' issue from their old speeches.
Krishna pointed out that India does conduct a 'plebiscite' every five years in the form of elections. 'Nobody has ever questioned the elections in Kashmir as fake,' Krishna said.
Earlier, harping on the Kashmir theme, Qureshi told the UN general assembly that Pakistan is willing to engage India in a comprehensive dialogue to normalise relations between the two countries by finding amicable solutions to all outstanding issues, including what he called 'the core dispute of Jammu and Kashmir.'
'A peaceful resolution of Kashmir dispute in accordance with the UN resolutions taking into account the aspirations of the Kashmiri people would create conducive atmosphere for durable peace and stability in the South Asian region,' he said.
'The Jammu and Kashmir dispute is about the exercise of the right to self-determination by the Kashmiri people through a free, fair and impartial plebiscite under the UN auspices,' Qureshi said.
Urging 'the international community to persuade India to end what he called 'its repression in Kashmir,' he said: 'Pakistan views the prevailing situation in the Indian Occupied Kashmir with grave concern.'
(Arun Kumar can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)