Give Pakistan space to act against terrorism, says Pakistani media

January 7th, 2009 - 2:18 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan SinghIslamabad, Jan 7 (IANS) A day after Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said the Mumbai attack had the support of Pakistani “official agencies”, several leading newspapers Wednesday responded with anger. India should give Pakistan “space” to act against terrorism, one editorial said while another contended that New Delhi seemed interested more in “maligning Pakistan internationally”.A third editorial said that by “stepping back from war”, India had increased the international pressure on Pakistan to “clean up its act” and “go after” the terrorists, “of whom there is no dearth in Pakistan”.

“India needs to give Pakistan space. By backing away and easing the pressure it would give Islamabad an opportunity to act on its own accord, rather than because it has bowed down to its more powerful neighbour,” The News said in an editorial headlined “Exchange of evidence”.

“Our neighbour to the east is interested more in maligning Pakistan internationally than finding a solution to the current stand-off,” Dawn said in an editorial headlined “Upping the ante”.

“The truth is that by stepping back from war, India has increased the international pressure on Pakistan to clean up its act and go after the terrorists of whom there is no dearth in Pakistan,” Daily Times said in an editorial headlined “Next steps after evidence from India”.

India Tuesday for the first time pointed a finger at the Pakistan government, saying the Mumbai attack had the support of Pakistani “official agencies”, even as Islamabad persisted in its denials and accused New Delhi of pushing the region to the brink of war.

A defiant Islamabad rejected the dossier handed over by New Delhi Monday that sought to link Pakistan-based elements to the Nov 26-29 Mumbai terror strikes, saying the details provided couldn’t be treated as evidence and even threatened to go to the UN over alleged war-mongering by New Delhi in the wake of the attacks.

According to The News, India’s position “as a nation with considerable international clout makes it possible for it to keep up the demands it has been making” since the Mumbai attacks.

“The widespread perception that Pakistan is a terrorist haven makes its international position a more awkward one,” it added.

“The problem so far is that both nations have refused to budge even an inch from their original position. While the tone of the rhetoric coming from India is slightly calmer than before, the essential focus remains unchanged. Pakistan too has consistently maintained it is determined to act against terror but that it will not extradite individuals to India or act against them until it has absolute proof,” The News said.

Noting that “things need to move forward”, the editorial said that at present, “like a car tyre stuck in mud, we are hearing a lot of noise but seeing no progress”.

“Islamabad and New Delhi must review their situations and resort to good sense and reason rather than emotion,” the editorial maintained.

“In turn, Pakistan needs to demonstrate it is earnest in its desire to act against terrorists and that it is capable of moving beyond words on this,” The News contended.

According to Dawn, “it could even be argued that bringing to book those who orchestrated the Mumbai assault does not really top New Delhi’s list of priorities, for there are wheels within wheels.

“India seems to be interested in one thing alone: isolating Pakistan in the global arena,” the editorial maintained.

Asking why India would want to pursue such a course, Dawn said: “More than one explanation comes to mind. Not satisfied with the fact that it is already the region’s hegemon, India desires official - read western - endorsement of this reality.

“The upcoming elections in India must also be taken into account because Pakistan-bashing is the most convenient way for the Congress party to steal the BJP’s thunder and gloss over the Indian state’s massive security lapses in Mumbai,” Dawn contended.

According to Daily Times, the Pakistani government “should be willing to do what is necessary. Its leader (Benazir Bhutto) was assassinated by terrorists and its government is tottering under the threat of global terrorism that has made its home in Pakistan”.

Noting that the world wants Pakistan “to move honestly” against those who have carried out the Mumbai attack on the basis of evidence available from India and from its own intelligence, the newspaper said: “This moment could be a decisive one in the history of Indo-Pak relations and could actually lead to a new peaceful beginning if both sides extend full cooperation instead of trying to score points by playing to the home galleries.”

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