New Delhi: Criticizing Prime Minister's sudden plan to visit Pakistan, the Indian National Congress said on Friday said that the unannounced move cannot be termed 'statesman like' and added that diplomacy must have seriousness and gravitas.
Addressing a press conference here, Congress leader Anand Sharma said, “PM who was on a visit to Russia & Afghanistan surprised everyone by visiting Pakistan. He thinks its a master stroke. His External Affairs Minister claims, very foolishly so, that its 'Statesman like'. We completely reject her claim.”
Further hinting that the trip was well planned in advance, the Congress leader said, "We have definitive information that this was pre-arranged. They met for one hour in Kathmandu during SAARC summit."
"This PM has not gone there (Pakistan) to take forward the roadmap to engage with Pakistan or build an understanding that would eliminate immediate threats. This unannounced visit cannot be termed 'statesman like'. Diplomacy must have seriousness and gravitas," he added.
"How many PMs or Heads of States make such detours to wish b'days? In last 67 yrs, has any Indian PM landed in another country in this manner," said Sharma on PM Modi's gesture in which he greeted Sharif on his birthday over telephone from Kabul earlier today and expressed a desire to meet the Pakistani leader.
Further hitting out at PM Modi, Sharma said, "Before elections, PM & BJP had a hawkish approach. During UPA, when PM & President Musharraf met, BJP described it as 'anti-national'!"
"PM Modi's approach is frivolous, unpredictable & full of abrupt U-turns. He has defiantly not done anything to promote national interest," Sharma said.
"It's now in public domain that PM Modi used vested private business interest for a secret meeting with PM Sharif in Kathmandu. He has now used the same channel for fixing the meeting in Lahore," Sharma.
He further said, "Same industrialist who has business partnership with ruling establishment in Pak was there in Pak for last 2 days. This is out in the open. So, how come the govt can say this is spontaneous & a continuation?"
"PM of India carries the flag of the country. Therefore there has to be seriousness in his actions. He is not travelling for tourism purpose," Sharma said.
Raising concern over Pakistan's move in Mumbai terror attacks trial, the Congress leader said, "What assurances is PM bringing back? Has this process been unequivocally endorsed by the real establishment of Pakistan, the ISI & the Pak Army? What assurances has PM received with regard to trial & punishment of the perpetrators of 26/11, and in particular Lakhvi?"
"We are very clear that PM is there to promote private business interest, not India's National Interest," he added.
Neither is PM Modi's Pak visit 'statesman like' nor is it in National interest. Watch Anand Sharma's briefing here: https://t.co/Q2OZNzqVf6
— INC India (@INCIndia) December 25, 2015
PM Modi had earlier said in a tweet that he will meet his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif in Lahore on Friday afternoon on his way back to New Delhi from Kabul.