Manmohan statement can aggravate tension: Pakistani analysts (Lead)

January 7th, 2009 - 5:55 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan SinghIslamabad, Jan 7 (IANS) Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s accusation that Pakistan was using terrorism as an “instrument of state policy” can push the tension between the two countries in the wake of the Mumbai carnage toward the danger zone, analysts here fear.The government and most experts were surprised with Manmohan Singh’s statement. In Pakistan, the Indian prime minister is considered a “low profile and a decent politician”.

“Such accusations at this stage can damage the efforts for normalisation of relations and can be very dangerous as forces in both the countries are on high alert,” said security analyst Brig. (retd) Masood Akhtar.

Akhtar told IANS that the way “India is handling the issue seems that they are in a hurry to get hold of the people they have demanded from Pakistan”.

“I am afraid that with the troops on borders any wrong step can push us into a serious problem,” he said.

Talat Hussain, a senior journalist, said that the statement by Singh is “indirect declaration of war”. Backing his point, he said that the prime minister has accused Pakistan of the Mumbai attacks meaning now India can retaliate to this.

He termed the statement as “ill-timed and a step in the wrong direction”, adding India should have waited for Islamabad’s response after providing evidence on the Mumbai attacks.

The News carried the prime minister’s statement and Pakistan’s reaction under headline “Singh is King of accusations and closing avenues of cooperation” in an obvious reference to Indian movie “Sinngh is King” that is being shown in 16 cinema halls of Pakistan.

Minister for Northern Areas and Kashmir Affairs Qamar Zaman Kaira said that the statement by the Indian prime minister is a serious blow to Pakistan’s efforts for helping India in investigation of the Mumbai attacks and cooperation on other issues.

He said: “The timing of the statement suggests that it was an election ploy by the Congress through which they can gain sympathy votes.

“The Indian attitude is highly regrettable and instead of resolving the problem, India was appreciating those forces who have destabilised the peace process between the two countries.”

The minister termed the Mumbai attacks as an attempt by the hawkish and anti-peace elements and said: “I would say Indian rulers are becoming instruments in the hands of these people”.

The Pakistan government issued a rebuttal to the statement by Prime Minister Singh under the title “India whips up tension”, terming the “allegations” as “unfortunate” and “a propaganda offensive”.

The statement said: “Government of India was advised not to embark on political point scoring. Regrettably this advice has not been heeded. Pakistan is a victim of terrorism. This pernicious phenomenon is regionally pervasive. Pakistan has suffered more terror attacks than India. But we have not lost our equanimity.”

It said that Pakistan “strongly rejects efforts at political and military coercion, which are counter-productive. India must refrain from hostile propaganda, and must not whip up tensions. It must also take steps to de-escalate its offensive military posture against Pakistan”.

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