Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said on Friday that India’s “selective” approach to issues has led to what analysts say is a stalemate in talks aimed to build trust shattered by the 2008 Mumbai attacks.

Qureshi and his Indian counterpart S M Krishna met in Islamabad on Thursday and agreed on more talks but failed to announce any concrete measures that might soothe tensions between the neighbours.

“I could see from yesterday’s talks that they want to be selective. When they say all issues are on the table then they cannot, they should not, be selective,” Qureshi told reporters after attending a ceremony for new diplomats in Islamabad.

“Progress in talks can only be possible if we move forward on all issues in tandem.”

He said that there had been no resistance from the Pakistani side in the talks.

Billed as a chance to build trust, the ministers made modest progress and focused largely on the issue of cross-border militancy – India’s key concern – while agreeing to meet again in New Delhi.

But Qureshi, after attacking India’s home secretary in a tense final press conference between the ministers, also appeared to question Krishna’s authority in comments to reporters on Friday.

“I did not leave the talks even once to discuss the progress by telephone,” he told reporters Friday. “But why did instructions keep coming in from New Delhi in the presence of the Indian foreign minister?

“Who is the top foreign policy adviser for India?”

Krishna called this an “extraordinary statement to make” as he arrived back at New Delhi airport and said he did not take calls from anyone during the negotiations.

Overlooking Qureshi’s comments, which provoked a furious reaction among Indian commentators, he attempted to put a more positive spin on the meeting, saying it had helpedto build confidence.

“I think we have contributed in a manner where the trust deficit is getting reduced and it is part of the confidence building measures,” he said.

Qureshi also accused India of “narrowing down the talks” by focusing exclusively on militancy rather than the whole range of issues between the countries, including water and the status of the disputed region of Kashmir.

“We wanted that our discussions should lead to a roadmap but Indians felt they did not have the mandate to commit to it,” Qureshi said.


Security remains India’s top concern after the Mumbai attacks by a Pakistan-based militant group, which killed 166 people.

After Thursday’s talks, Krishna repeated New Delhi’s call for Islamabad to speed up efforts to bring the perpetrators to justice.

India blames the Lashkar-i-Taiba (LT) militants for the attacks, and in remarks published in an Indian newspaper on Wednesday, Indian Home Secretary G K Pillai accused Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), of orchestrating the assault.

India has linked the re-launching of peace talks between the two South Asian rivals with Pakistan’s action against the perpetrators of the attack.

But Qureshi warned against India’s attitude.

“If we give heed to those issues which they consider important and those issues in which Pakistan is interested are neglected then things cannot move forward,” he said.

“They have to sit with an open mind and we have to move forward with an open heart.”

“Pakistan is going through difficult times due to terrorism…however, we cannot remain dissociated from the human rights abuses in Indian-administered Kashmir,” Qureshi said.

“Politics and dialogue should not lead to deadlock…but India was not ready for dialogue…short-sightedness will not help in resolve the issues,” he said.

“Pakistan is still ready for talks with India but will wait for a sign from India….we’re ready to engage. We’re ready for negotiations anytime, anywhere but we’re not in hurry,” Qureshi said.

Analysts say India wants to use the issue of terrorism as a way to keep international pressure on Pakistan.

“They have come to a conclusion that everything is being done against them by the ISI and that policy is not going to change unless there’s total pressure,” political and security analyst Hassan Askari Rizvi said.

But he feared that this policy would favour the cause of al-Qaeda-linked militants who want instability in the region.

“That’s what militants want: That India and Pakistan should not be on good terms and if they’re on good terms there will be pressure on militants,” he said.