The Pakistani media Monday termed the meeting between India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Pakistan’s Premier Nawaz Sharif as no less than a “miracle”, given the troublesome backdrop against which it took place.
The two leaders met on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York Sunday.
In an editorial, the News International said the prelude to the meeting couldn’t have been more disastrous, and that the meeting itself took place is a minor miracle as both sides called it useful and constructive.
The Dawn newspaper said the meeting with the “lowest expectations” was perhaps a small victory for both the nations, while the Daily Times said the intent shown by both the neighbours to continue the process of dialogue and peace negotiations was encouraging.
“Before the non-breakfast meeting between Nawaz Sharif and Manmohan Singh in New York Sunday, the troubled relations between the two sides sunk to yet another low. The Indian prime minister devoted much of his speech at the United Nations General Assembly to the question of Pakistan and terrorism, calling us an ‘epicentre of terrorism’ and refusing to negotiate over the status of Kashmir. Singh’s meeting with the US President Barack Obama also focused almost entirely on Pakistan,” said the News International.
“The tense atmosphere quickly turned farcical when it was claimed that Nawaz Sharif had compared Manmohan Singh to a ‘village woman’ in an off-the-record meeting with journalists, although other attendees denied he said any such thing,” it said.
“Indian External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid poured further fuel to the fire by blaming the Pakistan military and the ISI for not obeying Sharif and for militancy in Kashmir. Given this backdrop, that the meeting itself took place is a minor miracle, as both sides called it useful and constructive,” the newspaper added.
The Dawn said the meeting was a small step towards normalising the ties. However, it pointed out that mere words would not be enough to achieve that goal.
“On the positive side, the post-meeting press briefings eschewed hard-hitting statements and it became clear that Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif believe that normalisation of ties is the desired outcome between India and Pakistan,” the Dawn said.
“Less salubriously, neither side was willing to engage in conversation about how exactly ties are to be moved towards the goal of normalisation. For a relationship that has been fraught from its 66-year-old beginning, words do not count for much anymore, only actions will suffice,” the editorial said. The Daily Times said the decision to continue the process of dialogue and peace negotiations was encouraging. “Eventually the meeting between the prime ministers of Pakistan and India took place in a cordial atmosphere in New York on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly’s annual session.
That both the countries have decided to continue the process of dialogue and peace negotiations is encouraging,” the newspaper said.