Pakistan has lost Kashmir plank: Pakistani media

June 18th, 2009 - 6:22 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh Islamabad, June 18 (IANS) Pakistan has lost its Kashmir plank with India bringing on centre stage the need to counter terrorism, an editorial in a leading English daily said Thursday while welcoming the apparent subcontinental thaw after the meeting in Russia between President Asif Ali Zardari and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
“There was a time when Pakistan wanted ‘movement’ on Kashmir from India. Now India wants ‘movement’ first, on terrorism,” Daily Times said in an editorial headlined ‘The message from Yekaterinburg’.

“One phase is over whether Pakistan likes it or not. The next phase is upon us and that is Pakistan’s war against Baitullah Mehsud’s Tehreek-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and Al Qaeda.

“One reason phase one is over is that even for Pakistan, the priority now is getting rid of the terrorists. Beyond that is a new model of relationship in South Asia between its two big nuclear-armed states and with the threatened countries that lie on the edge of the region,” the editorial contended.

Manmohan Singh had delivered a blunt message to Zardari at their meeting in Yekaterinburg Tuesday, their first after the Mumbai terror attacks that India has blamed on elements operating from Pakistan.

“I must tell you quite frankly that I have come with the limited mandate of discussing how Pakistan can deliver on its assurances that its territory would not be used for terrorists attacks on India,” Manmohan Singh had said.

Delhi Times also noted that New Delhi’s official line on Pakistan before the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit at Yekaterinburg that India and Pakistan had attended as observers was — do something about terrorism first and then expect the resumption of dialogue with India.

“The message from Yekaterinburg was that the ‘primary issue of terrorism will be discussed by the foreign secretaries of the two countries before the leaders of the two countries meet again in mid-July on the sidelines of an international conference in Sharm-el-Sheikh, Egypt’,” the editorial said.

Holding that the war against terrorism “should not be an India-Pakistan war”, the editorial said: “A new kind of dialogue between the two countries is essential. And it can’t be a rehash of what happened in the past, in which some optimists saw ‘great progress’ but which yielded no results.”

According to The News: “The resumption of greater normalcy between Islamabad and New Delhi is welcome.”

“But while dialogue and negotiations between the two nations are to be encouraged, and have in the past led to steps - such as the cross-border bus services - that help people meet and encourage contact between them, it is time now to fix a firmer goal,” said the editorial, headlined “Time to talk”.

Holding that both Pakistan and India “have suffered immense losses due to terrorism”, the editorial said: “They then stand to gain from coming together.”

“But if this is to happen, India must accept it too has made many errors and committed many wrongs that need to be righted. Simply making demands on others while failing to correct one’s own mistakes serves very little useful purpose.

“India needs to demonstrate it deserves a status as ‘big brother’ in the region by setting the right example and, by doing so, winning the respect of its smaller neighbours,” the editorial maintained.

Dawn, too, focused on the theme of terrorism, saying the two countries should focus on the scourge that “threatens the peace and stability of South Asia”.

“It is important that neither government provide any kind of sanctuary to terrorists operating against the other in the misplaced belief that this strategy promotes its political interest.

“It is time both realised that terrorism is a double-edged sword that also destroys its protector and patron. Hence the SAARC mechanism that has already been set up to investigate and fight terrorism must be activated and used effectively to the advantage of both,” said the editorial, headlined “Handshake in Russia”.

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