India Reacts Strongly To Pak Comments On J&K Polls

21 November 2008
The Hindu

New Delhi: India on Friday reacted sharply to certain comments by Pakistan on the Jammu and Kashmir polls, saying it indicates Islamabad is not interested in playing a 'responsible role' in the region which it should in its 'own interest'. External Affairs Ministry spokesman Vishnu Prakash termed as 'most unfortunate' the comments by Pakistan Foreign Office spokesman Muhammad Sadiq that polls in Jammu and Kashmir do not reflect 'authentic' expression of aspirations of the people of the State. 'We strongly object to these remarks. It is in Pakistan's own interest to play a responsible role in the region. Comments such as these hardly suggest that it is prepared to do so,' Prakash said. His reaction came a day after Sadiq said that 'the ongoing elections (in Jammu and Kashmir) cannot be construed as authentic expression of the real aspirations of the Kashmiri people.' Seven-phase elections are underway in Jammu and Kashmir amid tight security to thwart any attempt by militants to disrupt the polling process which is boycotted by separatists. In the first phase on November 17, electorate turned up in large numbers braving freezing temperatures and ignoring separatists' boycott call and recorded a turnout of 55 per cent.