Two Pakistani newspapers Friday denounced India’s decision to call off talks between their foreign secretaries, saying it had dealt “a serious blow” to the bilateral peace process.
“The decision is regrettable. We hope better sense prevails and both sides are able to transcend all the obstacles to a resumption of the talks at the earliest,” the Daily Times said in an editorial.
“Both sides need to overcome the past and any lingering prejudices and approach the negotiating table with an open mind in the interests of both countries, the region and world peace,” it added.
It described as “regrettable” New Delhi’s move to axe the Aug 25 talks in Islamabad over firing on the Kashmir border by Pakistani troops as well as the Pakistani envoy’s meetings with Kashmiri separatists in New Delhi.
The News International took a harder line, warning that the “Indian short-sightedness will only provide succour to the hawks in Pakistan and weaken peace initiatives”.
It said the cancellation of the talks had dealt “a serious blow to the efforts towards normalising ties between the two nations”.
“The guarded optimism of Narendra Modi’s peace overtures to Pakistan during his inauguration has swiftly been replaced by sad reality.”
Both newspapers harped on what they said was a hawkish stance of Modi, a Bharatiya Janata Party veteran who became prime minister in May.
“Modi and the Indian government seem to have adopted an aggressive posture,” the Daily Times said.
The News International described Modi as “an extreme hawk anyway”.
“He, like every other Indian leader, does not want to negotiate with either the Kashmiris or Pakistan over the future of the disputed territory.
“Unlike others though, he is not willing to bend even an inch…
“By cancelling the talks, Modi has made clear that the only peace India wants is one in which it gets to dictate terms.”
It added that without talks, “the core problems of Kashmir and terrorism will remain unsolved”.
The India-Pakistan dialogue was rudely disrupted in 2008 after Pakistani terrorists attacked Mumbai city leaving at least 166 people dead.