UPA Lacks Conviction to Deal With Pak: Rajnath
India should have stopped all confidence building steps with Pakistan for the time being and called back its envoy there over beheading of an Indian soldier by Pakistani forces, BJP President Rajnath Singh said today.

Addressing a seminar on the condition of minorities in Pakistan, Singh said the "will power and conviction" needed to deal with Pakistan was lacking in the UPA government.

He referred to the recent incident in the Poonch sector of Kashmir where two Indian soldiers were killed by Pakistani army regulars and the head of one, Hemraj, was taken away by them.

"I feel that the way India should have protested and opposed this- not only with Pakistan but also at the international forum- it did not do. For the time being, India should have said that it is stopping all the on-going confidence building process. I am not saying forever but for the time being," Singh said.

He further maintained that India should have also "scaled down the diplomatic relations" with Pakistan.

"India should have also said that it is calling back its Ambassador to Pakistan immediately. Government of India could not register the strong protest that it should have," Singh said.

The BJP leader alleged that the failures of the UPA government and its policies were responsible for the minorities in Pakistan not being safe there.

He said that it was high time that India developed a refugee rehabilitation policy for the minorities who are fleeing Pakistan and coming to India.

"These people should be given citizenship of India. If our party comes to power, we will not take this issue lightly. We will do what we can and will not be concerned about its impact at the international fora," Singh said.

The BJP president said what is happening in Pakistan poses a threat not just to peace in Asia but to the whole world and should be a global concern.

"A peaceful and stable state cannot be established on the basis of religion," Singh said, while expressing concern for the persecution of minorities in Pakistan.

The BJP Chief said to help the minorities in Pakistan, India should open more consulates there and regretted that the only consulate, which was based in Karachi, was closed down in 1994 under ISI pressure.

Singh also referred to reports that then Pakistan army chief Pervez Musharraf had crossed 11 Km into Indian territory during the Kargil conflict.

During the Agra summit, Musharraf had behaved with Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee as if the Indian leader was responsible for the Kargil war, he said.

He maintained that Pakistan's formation was on the wrong premise that Hindus and Muslims cannot live together and said "genesis of the problem" faced by minorities is the high level of intolerance there.

"At the time of Independence there were 23-24 per cent minorities in Pakistan but have been reduced to only 1-2 per cent while there was 7-8 per cent minorities in India at that time but are more than 14 per cent today," he said.

BJP also claimed that partition was not just geographical but also cultural division of India.

Singh emphasised that his party wants good relations with Pakistan.
Emerging story. Watch this space for updates as more details come in
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