Khurshid takes on Hafiz Saeed, says 'India won't respond to statements made by non-state actors'

New Delhi, June 4 (ANI): With Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) founder Hafiz Saeed warning the political leadership of Islamabad not to renew friendly ties with New Delhi, External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid has said India would like to engage with elected governments in Pakistan rather than respond to statements made by non-state actors.

"He has made a statement of that nature, I'm not sure he has won any elections. Pakistan has just had a democratic election and they have elected Nawaz Sharif's party and I believe he will soon be elected as Prime Minister," said Khurshid.

"So, I think we rather go by what he says and what elected representatives of Pakistan say rather than people who are self-appointed," he added, while responding to founder Hafiz Saeed's statement in Muzaffarabad that there can be no friendly ties between the neighbours till the Kashmir issue is resolved.

The Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, had earlier on May 31 said that both he and Pakistan's incoming Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif want to take bilateral relations between the two Asian neighbours forward and resolve all outstanding issues in a peaceful manner.

Dr. Singh, who was interacting with the media onboard his special aircraft Air India One while returning home after his successful two-nation visit to Japan and Thailand, said both leaders had invited each other to visit their respective nations, but added that the dates for this have not been fixed as yet.

"I rang up Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on the very first day when the election results were coming out. I conveyed my congratulations to him and I reciprocated his sentiments that India-Pakistan relations should move forward. I also invited him to visit India," Dr. Singh said.

"He also invited me to visit Pakistan. There is an invitation from the Government of Pakistan for me to visit Pakistan. There is no firm decision on either side. No dates have been fixed, but we would certainly like to have good neighbourly relations with Pakistan," he added.

Saeed's warning comes on the eve of the oath-taking ceremony of Pakistan's new Prime Minister. Saeed said that Pakistan cannot hold out its hand of friendship unless the Kashmir issue is resolved.

Saeed, who now heads the banned charity Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD), warned Prime Minister elect Nawaz Sharif that those who voted him to power would not want him to extend the hand of friendship to India.

Saeed said that 'unless the Kashmir issue is resolved, there can be no trade, no friendship, no agreements with India'.

Soon after his Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz emerged victorious in the historic May 11th ballot, Sharif had said he was even willing to go to New Delhi to improve ties.

Saeed also cautioned the new government from granting any trade concessions to India.

Saeed also said that India will not get the Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status unless the Kashmir issue is resolved. He also said that the Indian Prime Minister should stop doing politics on Kashmir.

Saeed is the founder of the JUD, which is the parent organization of the LET that masterminded the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks that killed 166 people.

The US had last year put a 10 million dollar bounty on Saeed, yet he roams free in Pakistan. (ANI)


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