Gujarat was never mentioned at the private dinner hosted by then Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar, Pakistan’s former Foreign Minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri told PTI on Wednesday.
His statement comes days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi said at an election rally in Gujarat that Pakistan was trying to influence the elections in Gujarat. Modi said some Pakistani officials and former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had met at Aiyar’s house over dinner on December 6.
Kasuri, who was at that dinner, said Modi was unnecessarily dragging him into Indian politics. “Let me tell you that no discussion whatsoever took place about the internal politics of India or Pakistan,” Kasuri told PTI.
“Even the word ‘Gujarat’ was not mentioned by any participant of the meeting,” he said, adding that he was “surprised and pained” that his name was dragged into Indian politics. “I’m surprised because of the nature of the allegations and at apparently how anti-Pakistani sloganeering can perhaps still garner votes in India.”
Apart from Singh, former Vice President Hamid Ansari, former minister K Natwar Singh, Pakistan High Commissioner to New Delhi Sohail Mahmood, a few former Indian higher commissioners to Islamabad, defence analysts and well-known journalists were at the dinner, Kasuri said.
“Are they also part of Pakistan’s conspiracy?” he told Pakistan channel Samaa TV, according to The Indian Express. “It is a strange story with no basis.”
Earlier on Wednesday, Manmohan Singh said he was “deeply pained and anguished by the falsehood” Modi was spreading “to score political points in a lost cause”, referring to the elections in Gujarat.