Disappointed Imran describes Indian leadership as ‘small men occupying big offices’

New Delhi Sep 22 : Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan has tweeted that he was “disappointed” at the “arrogant & negative” response by India to his call for dialogue resumption. He also compared the Indian leadership to “small men occupying big offices who do not have the vision to see the larger picture”.

The tweet on the handle @ImranKhanPTI on Saturday morning came a day after India called off the proposed India-Pakistan foreign ministers’ meeting between Sushma Swaraj and Shah Mahmood Qureshi on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York next week. The government also directly targeted Imran on Friday following the murders of three Kashmiri policemen.

A statement from the external affairs ministry said: “Now, it is obvious that behind Pakistan’s proposal for talks to make a fresh beginning, the evil agenda of Pakistan stands exposed and the true face of the new Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan has been revealed to the world in his first few months in office. Any conversation with Pakistan in such an environment would be meaningless.”

Barely 24 hours before this statement, India had confirmed that Swaraj would meet Qureshi, responding to a letter from Imran to Prime Minister Narendra Modi last week seeking such a meeting and the resumption of dialogue.

On Friday,  Qureshi expressed disappointment at India calling off the meeting and alleged that “internal pressure” forced New Delhi to make the “unfortunate” move.

Earlier, Imran’s overtures to India in his July victory speech had prompted Modi to seek a “meaningful and constructive” engagement.

Friday’s development seemed to dash that hope.

Explaining the cancellation of the meeting, India cited the abduction and murder of the three policemen in Kashmir and Pakistan’s release of special postage stamps glorifying Kashmiri militants such as Burhan Wani.

“Since yesterday’s announcement of a meeting between the foreign ministers of India and Pakistan in New York later this month, two deeply disturbing developments have taken place,” the government statement said.

“The latest brutal killings of our security personnel by Pakistan-based entities and the recent release of a series of twenty postage stamps by Pakistan glorifying a terrorist and terrorism confirm that Pakistan will not mend its ways.”

The statement added that India had agreed to the New York meeting “in response to the spirit reflected in the letters from the new Prime Minister and foreign minister of Pakistan”.

“The letter from the Prime Minister of Pakistan had spoken of, inter alia, bringing a positive change and mutual desire for peace as also readiness to discuss terrorism. In view of the changed situation, there will be no meeting between the foreign ministers of India and Pakistan in New York.”

Thursday’s confirmation of the meeting had come against the backdrop of the brutal killing of a BSF jawan by Pakistani troops. The Modi government had been cautious, clarifying that the meeting did not entail any formal negotiation or a resumption of dialogue.

The Congress had attacked the decision to have the meeting, asking whether any change in the ground reality had been detected.

On Friday, foreign ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar explained: “After Imran Khan’s letter, we thought Pakistan is moving towards positive change, a new beginning. But now it seems behind their proposal were evil intentions.”

Dialogue between India and Pakistan had been suspended in 2015. (PTI)