Pakistan’s newly appointed foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has a complicated relationship with India and it may be recalled that his visit to India in similar capacity in November 2008 coincided with 26/11, the terror attack masterminded from Pakistani soil that derailed Indo-Pak Comprehensive Dialogue ever since.
Qureshi, a hawk on Kashmir, was foreign minister in PPP regime between 2008 and 2011 and was present in Delhi on the very day Mumbai attacks were launched on November 11, 2008. Hours before the attack, Qureshi and his then Indian counterpart, Pranab Mukherjee, met at Hyderabad House and addressed a press meet where even cricketing ties were among the talking points. Mukherjee had just returned from a three-day visit to Nepal.
Qureshi found it difficult to defend his government the next day while still in India as commando operations continued to flush out terrorists from Mumbai. He heard a mouthful from Mukherjee, his host, about Pak complicity in the Mumbai attacks. “We do not want to impose war, but we are fully prepared in case war is imposed on us,” Qureshi had later said.
Two years after 26/11, in 2010, Qureshi was involved in one of the worst Indo-Pak press meets with SM Krishna by his side in Islamabad. It was a press meet late in the evening that was marked by acrimony and tough words from Qureshi. Qureshi has been often described as a PM-inwaiting and it is believed that he twice missed the post. Some Pak experts still believe that Imran may have to pave way for Qureshi at some point in time.
It is understandable that Qureshi will be guided by the Pakistan army in conducting its India policy. The stamp of army is evident in the Imran cabinet with nine out of 15 ministers and three out of five advisers being senior officials under Musharraf.
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