Pakistani media hails India's green signal to talks

Islamabad, Sep 28 (IANS) The Pakistani media Saturday praised the Indian government for its decision to go ahead with the talks between Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif despite the terror attack in Jammu and Kashmir Sep 26.

The two leaders are scheduled to meet Sunday on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York.

In an editorial, the Dawn newspaper said that the terror strike in Jammu failed to achieve its purpose of derailing the peace talks while The News International welcomed India's firm stand to hold the talks.

The Daily Times hailed India's leadership for going ahead with the composite talks despite facing the wrath of the country's main opposition party, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

"The attack by unidentified militants on a police station and an army base in India-held Kashmir Thursday failed to achieve its purpose, and the meeting between Nawaz Sharif and Manmohan Singh is still on," said Dawn.

"As on previous occasions, so now, the prime ministers of India and Pakistan getting together is in itself something to be grateful for. That the Indian prime minister confirmed the meeting with Sharif in spite of Thursday's provocation shows his resolve not to surrender to the hawks in India.

"With a general election due (in India), some politicians in India have adopted a hawkish line; Mr Singh's refusal to steer away from a conciliatory course, thus, deserves to be appreciated," it added.

The report also hailed India's reaction of not blaming Pakistan directly for the attack, calling it a positive move.

"So far, the Indian side has not blamed Pakistan for the raid - they have blamed infiltrators 'from Pakistan'. This is a welcome departure from past practice when, soon after an act of terror, as for instance in the case of the Samjhota Express carnage, Indian authorities would be quick to blame Pakistan. This time we can detect a more restrained reaction," it said.

The Dawn editorial also said that Pakistan should now consider granting the Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status to India as a positive gesture.

"New Delhi has for long been pressing Pakistan on the MFN issue. It is time Islamabad considered clinching the issue as a confidence-building measure."

While breathing a sigh of relief over the continuation of peace talks, The News International said it would have been imprudent for India to cancel the talks.

"We can breathe a sigh of relief for now that the two sides are going to keep talking to each other but we should not lose sight of the significant hurdles in the way of better relations between the two countries," it said.

The Daily Times, in its editorial said, despite the growing opposition to the peace talks in India, saner voices were found in the ruling Congress party and Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah.

"They (the opposition in India) demanded that the scheduled meeting between Prime Ministers Nawaz Sharif and Dr Manmohan Singh Sep 29 on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session be cancelled.

"However, saner voices were to be found in the ranks of the ruling Congress Party and Indian-held Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah," it said.

"In India, ironically, the BJP presents a different face in government from what it is these days displaying in opposition. Who can forget the historic visit of former Indian prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee to Pakistan in 1999 when the Lahore Agreement was signed with then Pakistani prime minister Nawaz Sharif?

"That historic breakthrough of course was sabotaged by Pervez Musharraf with his Kargil adventure," the newspaper added.

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