NEW YORK: Pakistan has messed up the process and they should clean it up, external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj said after her Pakistani counterpart said that it was upto India to take the initiative to restart talks. On a day when Swaraj was running from back-to-back meeting on multilateral groups, she met Aziz briefly at the SAARC foreign ministers briefing here in the first half of the day.
But, she indicated that there was no separate discussion on bilateral issues. After coming out of South Asian foreign minister's meeting here on Thursday, Pakistan foreign affairs advisor Sartaj Aziz said that the calling off the talks "was an overreaction".
"We had been talking to the hurriyat for 20 years," he said. But, Swaraj pointed out that separatist hurriyat were called to Delhi for talks, only when Pakistan leaders came calling to Delhi. "Why did their ambassador have to call the hurriyat when our foreign secretary was going to Pakistan for talks," she retorted in reply to Aziz's "overreaction" remark.
She pointed out that it was Indian Prime Minister's "initiative" for which PM Nawaz Sharif had been invited to the swearing-in ceremony. At that time, India had quietly told the Pakistanis that any meeting with Hurriyat with Sharif would damage the good vibes.
"It is not us who have spoilt the process. It is them.. they should clean the mess," she said. India had called off the foreign secretary-level talks after Pakistan ambassador Abdul Basit met with Hurriyat leader despite being cautioned.
He got the warning in a phone call from the foreign secretary barely an hour before the meeting with Kashmiri leader Shabbir Shah. With the cancellation of the FS talks, any possibility of meeting of Modi and Sharif at the United Nations General Assembly was also snuffed out.