India-Pakistan talks signal hope, says daily

July 27th, 2011 - 12:28 pm ICT by IANS  

Yousuf Raza Gilani Islamabad, July 27 (IANS) The India-Pakistan talks signal hope for a positive outcome, said a leading Pakistani daily as it cautioned that the two countries could not “afford to repeat the disaster that was the foreign ministers’ meeting last year”.

In an editorial Wednesday, a day when Pakistan Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar is to hold talks with her Indian counterpart S.M. Krishna in New Delhi, the Dawn newspaper said: “Perhaps the mood for (the) meeting between the Pakistani and Indian foreign ministers was set by Hina Rabbani Khar when she (said) that `re-engagement’ was better than `no engagement’.”

The editorial added: “Twelve months after last year’s disastrous meeting between former Pakistani foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and S.M. Krishna, Khar said before leaving for New Delhi that she wanted to make the talks `result oriented’.

“Her declaration, and the fact that her meeting with Krishna is preceded by progress recorded by the Indian and Pakistani foreign secretaries, signals hope for a positive outcome.”

Describing as “significant” Khar’s emphasis on an uninterrupted peace process, the editorial said it “points to the consequences of the hiatus in talks that developed after the 2008 Mumbai tragedy”.

“The terrorists shattered the Composite Dialogue that had been launched with such hope in Islamabad in February 2004.”

It went on to say that the ice was broken at Thimphu when Prime Ministers Yousuf Raza Gilani and Manmohan Singh agreed to resume negotiations, a resolve that was reflected in their decision to meet at Mohali earlier this year.

“Since then, things have been moving - at a snail’s pace, no doubt, but moving nevertheless.”

Indian Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao had met her Pakistani counterpart Salman Bashir at Islamabad where they clinched deals on a number of issues, including a pledge to fight terrorism together.

“There was disappointment when they failed to agree on Siachen and Sir Creek, and that is where the foreign ministers must now prove that they can overcome ossified thinking and explore new avenues for narrowing the areas of disagreement.”

It cautioned: “Khar and Krishna cannot afford to repeat the disaster that was the foreign ministers’ meeting last year.”

“…One hopes Khar and Krishna are able to break new ground and perhaps agree at least on Siachen’s demilitarisation, an issue that back in 1989 appeared within reach of a settlement,” it added.

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