Parliament denounces Pakistan, hockey series axed

New Delhi :┬áIndia hit back Friday at Pakistan after it denounced Afzal Guru’s execution, with parliament passing a resolution against Islamabad and the government axing a bilateral hockey series.

Ruling and opposition MPs showed some rare unanimity in both houses as they passed resolution rejecting the Pakistani national assembly’s motion against the hanging of parliament attack convict Afzal Guru.

“This house totally rejects the resolution passed by the national assembly of Pakistan March 14,” said the resolution, read out in the Lok Sabha by Speaker Meira Kumar and in the Rajya Sabha by Chairman M. Hamid Ansari.

“The house rejects interference in the internal affairs of India and calls upon the national assembly of Pakistan to desist from acts of support for extremists and terrorists,” it said.

Both Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders spoke out strongly against Pakistan.

BJP’s Arun Jaitley said the Pakistani resolution was an “official stamp of approval” on the 2001 attack on Indian parliament that almost sparked a war between India and Pakistan.

He called for an end to a dialogues with Pakistan. “Not only is this an interference in the internal affairs of India but this is an approval of the worst terror attack on India.”

External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said the Indian resolution would give a clear message to Islamabad.

Until now, Pakistan, which supports the separatist campaign in Jammu and Kashmir, had refrained from commenting on the Feb 9 execution of Afzal Guru, a Kashmiri, for plotting the parliament attack.

But Islamabad acted as separatists stepped up protests in the Kashmir Valley demanding the return of Afzal Guru’s body, buried in the Tihar Jail in New Delhi where he was executed in secrecy.

Simultaneously, India cancelled a hockey series with Pakistan slated for April-May. Hockey India and the Pakistan Hockey Federation had planned the two-leg series after seven years.

Pakistan were to play a five-match series in India April 5-15. India were to tour Pakistan, for five matches, from April 23.

Sporting ties between the two countries were snapped after the 2008 Mumbai terror attack by Pakistanis.

Outside parliament, the BJP asked India to scale down diplomatic ties with Pakistan.

BJP president Rajnath Singh said: “The BJP firmly believes that almost all terrorist activities in India are sponsored by Pakistan.”

The latest developments took India-Pakistan ties to another low after January when New Delhi accused the Pakistani military of brutally killing two Indian soldiers on the Jammu and Kashmir border.

Manmohan Singh had then warned that there can be no business as usual in bilateral relations.

And on Wednesday, terrorists said to be from Pakistan carried out the first suicide attack in some three years in Srinagar in the Kashmir Valley killing five Indian troopers.

“The BJP demands that India’s diplomatic relations with Pakistan should be immediately scaled down,” Rajnath Singh said.

The parliament resolution said: “The … entire state of Jammu and Kashmir, including territory under illegal occupation of Pakistan, is and shall always be an integral part of India.”