NATIONAL

Not a word against any Indian Minister: Rashid Ahmed

New Delhi Nov. 13 . Visibly shaken by adverse reports on his comments against the Indian leadership, the Pakistan Information Minister, Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, today said he had not uttered a single word against any Indian Minister except for praising the Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, time and again.

"I never said anything against any Indian Minister... I have only been praising Mr. Vajpayee for the last three days. I am ready to pay any penalty if you could prove that I have shown disrespect to any Indian Minister," he told reporters at an "Iftar" party hosted by the Pakistan High Commission here.

Mr. Ahmed had yesterday asked the Indian leadership to stop referring to the list containing the names of 20 terrorists given by New Delhi to Islamabad, saying it would force Pakistan also to name those figuring in the 1949 Karachi Conspiracy Case — an apparent reference to the Deputy Prime Minister, L. K. Advani.

He was quoted by an English daily as saying that he was not aware Mr. Vajpayee was hard of hearing. Asked whether he had referred to Mr. Advani, Mr. Ahmed shot back "Why should I?" — UNI