New Delhi: Congress on Friday attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his "unscheduled" visit to Pakistan and alleged it was not for promoting India's national interest or to take forward the roadmap to engage with it on tackling terror but to promote private business interests.
Congress spokesperson Anand Sharma also attacked the Prime Minister's engagement with Pakistan as "frivolous, unpredictable and full of abrupt U-turns" and asked what assurances he got on bringing back or punishing perpetrators of 26/11 Mumbai attacks, especially Zakiu Rehman Lakhvi, and on dismantling terror syndicates in Pakistan acting against India."
Questioning the intent behind his visit, Congress rejected claims of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj that the Prime Minister's move was 'statesman-like' and said it was "pre-arranged" by a businessman.
"We are very clear that the Prime Minister is there to promote only private business interests and not India's national interest which should be supreme.
"Diplomacy is serious, it must have gravitas and predictability. It cannot be frivolous, otherwise it will
implode on Shri Narendra Modi's face," he told reporters.Rejecting Swaraj's claim that the visit was spontaneous, Sharma said "the External Affairs Minister claims, very foolishly so, that it's statesman-like. We completely reject her claim. We have definitive information that this was pre-arranged."
He said the Prime Minister has not gone there to take forward the roadmap to engage with Pakistan or build an understanding that would eliminate immediate threats of terror or punishing those behind the Mumbai 26/11 attacks.
"This unannounced visit cannot be termed 'statesman-like'.Diplomacy must have seriousness and gravitas," he said.
The Congress leader questioned how many Prime Ministers or heads of states make such detours to wish birthdays, asking if any Indian Prime Minister has landed in another country in
this manner in the last 67 years.
Sharma alleged it is now in public domain that Modi used "vested private business interest" for a secret meeting with Nawaz Sharif in Kathmandu, which he alleged was organised at the behest of a businessman, claiming that he has now used the same channel for fixing this meeting in Lahore.
"The same industrialist who has business partnership with the ruling establishment in Pakistan was there for the last two days. This is out in the open," he said, asking the Prime Minister to reveal the name of the businessman himself.
"How come the govt can say this is spontaneous & a continuation?...The Prime Minister of India carries the flag of the country and therefore there has to be seriousness in his actions. He is not travelling for tourism purposes," he said.
Sharma also slammed Modi and BJP for adopting a "hawkish approach" during the UPA government and termed any meeting by former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh with his Pakistani counterpart as "anti-national".