Pakistani media prominently features Zardari-Manmohan meeting

June 17th, 2009 - 3:15 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh Islamabad, June 17 (IANS) The Pakistani media Wednesday prominently featured on their front pages the meeting between President Asif Ali Zardari and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in the Russian city of Yekaterinburg but refrained from commenting editorially.
The lack of editorials was not surprising given that Pakistani papers normally comment on an event two days after it occurs.

“Singh reiterates tough stance: Pak-India talks at secretaries’ level planned”, the headline in Dawn said.

“Zardari, Singh agree on secretary level talks”, said the headline in The News.

“Pakistan, India agree on secretary-level talks”, Daily Times headlined its report.

The opening paragraph in the Yekaterinburg datelined report in all three newspapers was similar: “The Pakistan-India peace process, stalled for eight months, got a fresh lease of life when President Asif Ali Zardari and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh met on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit here on Tuesday.”

Predictably, Manmohan Singh’s tough talk on Pakistan’s need to control terror emanating from its territory was buried deep in the reports.

Dawn carried it as the eighth paragraph of the report, while The News carried it as the seventh paragraph. It did not feature at all in the Daily Times report.

“My mandate is to tell you that Pakistani territory should not be used for terrorism against India,” Manmohan Singh told Zardari before the president suggested that journalists be asked to leave the room.

The reports also noted that the foreign ministers of the two countries would meet before Zardari and Manmohan Singh again come face-to-face during the Non-Aligned Movement summit at Sharm-el-Sheikh in Egypt next month.

They also conceded that the Zardari-Manmohan Singh meeting did not signal the resumption of the sub-continental peace process that India had suspended in the wake of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks that New Delhi has blamed on elements operating from Pakistani.

Pakistan has consistently urging the resumption of the dialogue but India says this can happen only after Islamabad takes credible action against the perpetrators of the Nov 26-29 Mumbai carnage that claimed more than 170 lives, including those of 26 foreigners.

The Zardari-Manmohan Singh meeting was the first since the Mumbai carnage. The two leaders had last met in September 2008 on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session.

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