The Congress on Monday hit out at the Centre over the ICCR's role in co-sponsoring the Karachi Literature Festival, saying it "exposes the Narendra Modi government's duplicity, hypocrisy and a complete lack of a policy towards Pakistan".The Congress also slammed Prime Minister Narendra Modi for what it said was using armed forces as a prop for political and electoral purposes.India's premier cultural organisation, the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR), was one of the sponsors of Pakistan's Karachi Literature Festival held from February 10-12. It came at a time when Pakistani artistes are banned from performing in India."In an election rally, Modi said 'Attack me if you want, don't ever question the integrity of our armed forces'. It is extremely unfortunate and highly regrettable that the Prime Minister is using or misusing armed forces as a prop for political and electoral purposes," said Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari.
"It is ironic that the Prime Minister's statement comes when reports have emerged that the Bharatiya Janata Party-led central government through the ICCR has decided to part-sponsor the Karachi Literature Festival," he said."The pendulum has swung from 'no talks till terror abates' to 'talking about terror' and finally to establishing contact by using this surreptitious cultural facade." "This itself exposes the duplicity, hypocrisy and complete lack of a policy towards Pakistan as far as this government is concerned," he added.Tewari said: "No one has ever said that people-to-people contact should never be there. We have no enmity or ill-will towards the people of Pakistan. It is the deep State of Pakistan which continues to be inimical to the interests of India.""Our policy regarding Pakistan needs to be coherently defined, cogently articulated and implemented in a calibrated manner, something which this government has completely failed to do."