Pakistan media lauds India’s restraint (Lead)

May 15th, 2008 - 7:43 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Manmohan Singh

Islamabad, May 15 (IANS) Leading Pakistani newspapers have lauded India for showing restraint and not indulging in “finger pointing” in the aftermath of the bomb attacks in Jaipur and underlined that such incidents should not derail the peace process between the two countries. “…no Indian government official has blamed Islamabad or any Pakistan-based organisations for the crime, and this should serve to reassure us that New Delhi has refrained from an exercise in finger pointing that could have affected the ongoing composite dialogue,” wrote Dawn, a leading English newspaper.

“The motives behind the crime could include another bid to sour India-Pakistan relations… It is time the two governments redoubled their efforts to tackle the monster of terrorism jointly,” the editorial in Dawn said.

“Already, the normalisation has slowed down because of Pakistan’s domestic crisis.”

Unlike after the July 11, 2006 bombings in Mumbai’s commuter trains in which India suspected the involvement of Pakistan-based terrorists, this time India has trodden cautiously and refused to indulge in any name-calling.

Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon struck a cautious note in New Delhi Wednesday and said the investigations were on and it would be premature to jump to conclusions.

In the aftermath of the Mumbai bombings, the foreign secretary-level talks between the two countries had to be postponed leading to a freeze in the peace process for a few months.

The Dawn also noted that while the India-Pakistan Joint Anti-Terrorism Mechanism, which was put in place after the Havana summit between Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf in 2006, aimed to identify and counter the sources of terrorism, it had not laid down the procedure to do so.

“One hopes that the bureaucratic bottlenecks will be removed, and the mechanism will turn itself into an effective tool in the fight against terrorism,” Dawn said.

Other newspapers warned that any finger-pointing will be counterproductive and may imperil the peace process between the two countries.

“The finger-pointing is unfortunate,” The News said in an editorial titled “Jaipur carnage”, alluding to a statement by Indian Minister of State for Home Affairs Shri Prakash Jaiswal obliquely referring to Pakistan being responsible for the incident.

“The danger of escalation of bad blood between India and Pakistan at this critical juncture is real,” Daily Times said in its editorial headlined “Jaipur must not derail Indo-Pak peace process”.

“Unfortunately, much of what has happened between India and Pakistan has unfolded within a conflictual paradigm with both states trying to outflank each other,” the newspaper said.

“The fact is that Pakistan is now as vulnerable to terrorist strikes as India has been or remains. This is borne out by the increasing number of terrorist attacks against civilian and military targets inside Pakistan. The menace has therefore come to haunt the region,” the newspaper said.

It also pointed to the danger of negating significant gains India and Pakistan had achieved on the economic, military and diplomatic fronts.

“Pakistan and India have moved closer as never before to signing the final papers on the Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) gas pipeline, which is expected to take both countries out of their energy crisis. An agreement on Siachen and Sir Creek is nearing, trade and travel prospects are looking good.

“But this is precisely the juncture at which it is greatly tempting for terrorist groups opposed to Pakistan-India normalisation to strike. If the bilateral equation goes sour, these projects - already late by decades - could go on to the back-burner once again,” Daily Times warned.

According to The News, the acts of terrorism that take place in India “often have ramifications that go beyond the matter of the loss of life”.

“Already, at least one minister has suggested a ‘foreign hand’ is involved. While he has refused to name Pakistan, the implications are clear. The same pattern has been seen in the past as well following terrorist strikes.

“Indeed, the allegation of outside involvement is also heard almost equally often in Pakistan after such incidents. The finger-pointing is unfortunate,” the newspaper maintained.

“It would be wise not to engage in any kind of game of accusation or insinuation,” it said, adding: “It goes without saying that should the need arise, Pakistan must extend all possible help and cooperation in tracking down the bombers.”

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