ISLAMABAD/NEW DELHI - Indian Opposition in Lok Sabha on Monday lambasted Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mufti Mohammed Sayeed for giving credit to Pakistan, Hurriyat and militants for the smooth conduct of elections in the state.

Both sides engaged in narrow, xenophobic discussions, with the Indian government and the BJP later saying they “fully disassociate” themselves from the statement.

The Indian MPs demanded a resolution to be adopted by the lower house of Indian parliament condemning the statement of Sayeed at a press conference in Jammu the other day, soon after he took oath of office.

Sayeed had earlier said, “I want to say this on record and I have told this to the prime minister (also) that we must credit Hurriyat, Pakistan, militant outfits for the conduct of assembly elections.”

“God forbid if they would have done something, it would not have been possible to have smooth conduct of the elections.”

“People from across the border made the atmosphere conducive,” he continued. “They also allowed the democratic process to continue in the state.”

The furor saw Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh saying: “The government and his party (BJP) fully disassociate” themselves from the remarks made by Sayeed.

Singh said that “all credit for creating conducive environment for polls goes to the Election Commission, our armed forces and people of Jammu & Kashmir.”

After Singh’s response, almost the entire opposition staged a walkout.

Raising the issue, KC Venugopal said: “This is a serious issue” as he quoted Sayeed as saying that he had also had a word with PM Narendra Modi in this regard.

He said Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh of BJP was sitting next to the chief minister, but had given no clarification.

“The prime minister’s silence is shocking, the house should condemn it. We should pass a resolution,” he said.

The opposition was on its feet demanding a statement from PM Modi.

Leader of Congress Mallikarjun Kharge said since the prime minister was told by Sayeed that he feels that the credit should go to Hurriyat and Pakistan for smooth conduct of J and K assembly polls, Modi should make a statement. “Only PM can explain,” he said.

At this, Rajnath Singh said he has spoken to PM Modi in this regard and was making the statement with his knowledge and consent.

Later he also made it clear that Sayeed had not spoken about this statement with Modi.

Indian foreign secretary

due in Pakistan today

Pakistan and India will resume the stalled process of dialogue here today (Tuesday) when the Indian Foreign Secretary Jaishankar will arrive on a two-day visit to Islamabad.

Pakistan expects that all matters would be on the table for discussion including Jammu & Kashmir dispute, Siachin, water issues, confidence-building measures, people-to-people contacts and trade matters when two foreign secretaries will meet here today.

Indian Foreign Secretary Subrahmanyan Jaishankar will meet his counterpart Pakistan’s Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry to discuss all the issues, matters and disputes.

The Indian foreign secretary is visiting Pakistan in pursuant of the call by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif on February 13.

Pakistan has repeatedly said that Jammu and Kashmir is on the UN Security Council agenda and in the Simla Agreement, the two countries reaffirmed their commitment to the UN Charter principles.

Although the visit of Indian Foreign Secretary Subrahmanyan Jaishankar to Islamabad today is part of his trip to member states of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), but he will discuss all the issues between the two countries, said an official of the Foreign Office.

Besides holding formal talks with Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry, Jaishankar is also expected to meet with Adviser on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz, and Special Assistant to Prime Minister Tariq Fatemi. He is also likely to call on Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. It will be Jaishankar’s first visit to Pakistan.

The visit is taking place seven months after India called off foreign secretary-level talks scheduled in August last year at the eleventh hour when the Pakistan High Commissioner in New Delhi held consultations with Kashmiri leaders in the run-up to those talks.