BJP against holding any talks with Pak PM Ashraf



New Delhi: BJP Friday said that the "courtesy" being extended to Pakistan Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf during his visit should remain just that and not go beyond it, insisting that "terrorism and talks" cannot go side by side.

Ashraf will come to India on a private visit tomorrow on a pilgrimage to Ajmer Sharif and External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid will host a lunch for him in Jaipur.

"I hope that this will confine only to courtesy call and no discussion will take place on any issue. Because BJP is of the view that terrorism and talks cannot go side by side," former External Affairs Minister Yashwant Sinha told reporters outside Parliament.

"It is a question mark that External Affairs Minister has shown this kind of courtesy but I hope it will remain at courtesy stage and it will not go beyond that and there will be no substantive discussion with Pakistan," the BJP leader said.

India yesterday announced that Khurshid will host lunch for Ashraf in a Pink City hotel and "no substantive discussions are scheduled to be held".

The dialogue process between the two neighbouring countries was impacted by ceasefire violations on the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir in January this year with India lodging a strong protest over the brutal killing of two of its soldiers in the Poonch sector.

Defending the courtesy extended to Pakistan Prime Minister, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Rajiv Shukla said "we should maintain our traditions".

"If anyone coming to Ajmer Sharif then it is a normal protocol and we should follow it. There is nothing wrong in maintaining our tradition," the Minister said.

He, however, insisted that talks are "basic principles" of diplomacy and "should never be discontinued.

"You can express your views and also lodge your protest through talks. This kind of courtesy should always be given to each other."

PTI