October 31, 2003
PAKISTAN 'ACCEPTS' VAJPAYEE'S CONFIDENCE
analysts praise Vajpayee's proposals, but don't foresee "major"
outlets charge that the "cosmetic" moves fail adequately to address
writers laud Islamabad's "acceptance"; Indian outlets dub it a
of cross-border terrorism is no longer a pre-requisite for bilateral
CBMs a 'smart move,' but Indian writers disagree
on long-term impact-- Indian commentators
displayed varying degrees of optimism about PM Vajpayee's 12 CBMs. Hindi and pro-government papers judged that
the PM's "magnanimous" offers would provide a "boost" to
goodwill in the region. The
right-of-center Pioneer trumpeted Vajpayee as India's "tallest
leader since...Indira Ghandi."
Other papers called the proposals a "welcome change" from the
timidity that has "marred the Vajpayee government," but doubted the
measures would "usher in any major changes" in bilateral
Proposals only address 'superficial issues'; are
aimed at 'fooling' the world community--
observers strongly criticized India's peace proposals as "old wine in new
bottles" and "showpiece measures" designed to put the corrosive
impasse over Kashmir on the "back burner." Many writers saw the CBMs as an attempt by
New Delhi to "mislead the world community" about India's belligerent
intentions and hide the "dagger...under its arm." Dissenting voices urged Islamabad not to
"miss the bus" to peace and advised that India's "small steps
can lead to major breakthroughs."
Pakistan responds to India's 'tricks' with a
'counter-ploy'-- Pakistani writers hailed
Islamabad's "sincere" acceptance of India's peace proposals, with the
rightist Pakistan Observer billing it a step "towards the
revival of normal ties between the two nuclear rivals." Indian editorialists, however, castigated
Pakistan's "cheeky" response as a ploy to provoke New Delhi that
could ratchet up tension on the subcontinent.
On both sides of the LoC, advocates of bilateral dialogue criticized the
Will the CBMs 'pave the way' for resolution of
the Kashmir dispute?-- Tensions over Kashmir
loomed large in analyses of Vajpayee's 12 proposals. Most Indian editorialists doubted that New
Delhi's offer would end cross-border terror, but stressed that the issue should
not preclude dialogue over Kashmir.
Pakistani analysts roundly criticized the "frivolous" CBMs for
overlooking Kashmir, the "flashpoint" in South Asian relations. Outlets asserted that bilateral relations
will not improve as long as India continues playing "diplomatic
games" and insisted that only "substantive" dialogue "can
provide sustainable peace."
EDITOR: Andrew Borda
This analysis is based on 74 reports from 3 countries, October 24-31,
2003. Editorial excerpts from each
country are listed from the most recent date.
Peter Sturm argued in center-right Frankfurter
Allgemeine (10/24): "The latest
Indian initiative…is a positive signal which should not be overburdened with
excessive expectations. Not only will
extremists on all sides try to prevent lasting peace between both sides, once
the situation gets really 'serious.' But
even moderate politicians act in a 'nationalistically-minded' way when
relations with the neighbor are involved.
From its own viewpoint, India is showing courage by making it easier for
people in both parts of Kashmir to establish contacts. We are eager to learn whether the government
in Delhi is able to stay the course once the newly-established openness is
being misused by violent criminals. But,
on the other hand, the Indian initiative is also a smart move. If something is happening, it will be easy to
blame Pakistan for it. The Indian
accusation that Pakistan does not prevent the infiltration of terrorists into
the Indian part of Kashmir has never been withdrawn."
The centrist Times of India held
(10/31): "New Delhi 's latest
package of restoring travel and other links between the two countries has been
volleyed back by Islamabad like a table tennis ball. While persisting with its position that
Kashmir remains a core issue, Pakistan has hedged on a number of confidence
building measures, including the restoration of overflight facilities, while
adding some deliberately provocative 'riders' to others, notably the offer of
conducting the proposed cross-border services under the supervision of the
UN.... It has also offered scholarships to Kashmiri students and succor to
those "widows and victims" who have allegedly suffered 'atrocities'
at the hands of Indian security forces.... More than just stalling tactics, these
cheeky proposals are designed to get New Delhi 's goat and call forth an
intemperate response from the Indian side. All the more reason why South Block should
not fall prey to this impudent strategy.
Instead, right from now to the forthcoming SAARC meeting in January next
year, it should come up with a whole range of measures to normalize
relations.... These and should be made
with clock-work regularity by New Delhi to expose Islamabad's gamesmanship of trying
to divert domestic and international attention from the bankruptcy of its
internal agenda, based solely on Kashmir.
India must show that it has a multi-faceted agenda going much beyond
Kashmir, which, in any case, is a purely internal matter that will be handled
through the dynamics of our own democracy.
In one word, New Delhi must demonstrate that it can bring much more to
the diplomatic table than can Pakistan, by constantly enlarging the terms of
"How Cynical Is This"
The centrist Indian Express noted (10/31): "Pakistan's ruling elite has just
demonstrated its lack of sensitivity and good taste in the official
counter-proposals it has profferred in response to India's initiatives for
furthering peace in the region.... If
Pakistan wants to treat Jammu and Kashmir as a dispute, then it must start by
accepting that the dispute really is about Pakistan's continuing presence and
prosecution of jihadi violence inside the state that legally and
constitutionally acceded to India 56 years ago.... Any objective reading of the Indian proposals
would show that, if accepted by both sides and implemented sincerely, they
would help the people of both countries.
This could open doors for further forward movement. But by creating roadblocks on the path to the
acceptance of these proposals, Islamabad is doing itself and the region a great
disservice. What is needed is for both
countries to adopt a more responsible relationship with each other. India can either choose to be deterred by such
cynicism, or carry on with its agenda to change the security scenario of the
region. We would urge the latter
The nationalist Hindustan Times editorialized (10/31): "Pakistan's response to India's peace
package reveals an exceptionally cussed attitude, typical of a vitiated mind
unwilling to approach a problem with the intention of solving it. Instead, Islamabad is seemingly intent on
exacerbating the tension, presumably to please the jihadi elements which the
military junta has pampered all these years.
Nothing shows its vicious mentality more graphically than Islamabad's
proposal to treat disabled Kashmiris and women raped by the Indian security
forces.... There is no sign in this
outrageous suggestion that Pakistan intends to take the mutual relationship to
a more friendly level.... India, like
any country keen on improving relations, made what is undoubtedly a generous
offer only to be rebuffed in such a crude manner. Pakistan's obsession with
Kashmir is also evident in its proposal to involve the UN in the matter of
opening bus services between the two halves of Kashmir. Apart from revealing its blinkered vision,
these responses also underline Pakistan's uneasiness in restoring an element of
normality in mutual relations through the establishment of people-to-people
contacts, which is India's objective.
Pakistan evidently suspects that such an approach will swamp the 'core'
issue of Kashmir under an avalanche of good will that exists between the
ordinary people of the two countries....
Hence, Islamabad's mean-minded caveats to the Indian proposals."
The pro-BJP right-of-center Pioneer charged (10/31): "There is only one way to describe
Pakistan's response to India's 12-point peace package Prime Minister Vajpayee
unveiled on October 22: Breathtaking. Many
in India would prefer to call it condemnable and preposterous. But, in retrospect, that would be to betray
hope for civilized reciprocal virtues in Islamabad where none, evidently,
exists.... India, out of its traditional
large-heartedness, has chosen to give its sabre-rattling neighbor a long rope,
despite being time and again repaid with loathsome chicanery and back-stabbing
deceit. But the latest manifestation of Pakistan's puerile belligerence does,
as they say, take the cake. For, it has representatives of the universally
recognized epicenter of global terrorism dress themselves up in the ill-fitting
finery of human rights champions....
Pakistan may have reduced itself to a pitiable joke with its Kashmir
itch. But its incorrigibility is no
excuse for its attempt to reduce India's well-meant peace initiative to
mockery. The nature of its 'response' to
Vajpayee's proposals betrays that it is trying to open a propagandist channel
of communication with Kashmiris, bypassing the Indian Government.... If anything, neither India nor the world needs
further proof Pakistan will do everything in its power to obstruct Kashmir's
return to normalcy--since it refuses to accept that Kashmiris, defying
terrorist depredations, have already chosen peace.... New Delhi has preferred rapprochement to
conflict, the gainer is the very party brandishing the gun, spared as it is a
forcible disarming. But since Pakistan
uses this grace to persist in its aggression, it may be asked how long the
peace momentum can be sustained. There
is no denying its utterly cynical response to India's hand of friendship
warrants a befitting reply. General Pervez Musharraf and his minions have taken
magnanimity for granted. There is no
better occasion than now for them to be rudely disabused."
"Beacause The People Want It"
Saeed Naqvi wrote in the centrist Indian Express
(10/31): "Given the adversarial
edge in Indo-Pak diplomacy, one would have expected sides to score points as in
a college debate.... But remember, the
purpose of the exercise is to win hearts and minds, soften the atmosphere. Only then can discussions, even negotiations,
begin on Kashmir.... It is speculated
that the Americans have exerted pressure to extract the 12 suggestions from
India. The Diwali initiative has taken all
diplomats completely by surprise....
Pakistani diplomats are a trifle hurt that New Delhi bypassed them and
announced the proposals to the media....
There is a view in New Delhi that at this stage of the Indo-Pak script
there is no alternative to public diplomacy--to reach out to the establishment
in full view of the people who have demonstrated overwhelming support for
increased interaction at all levels.
This is true of people in both countries."
The centrist Telegraph asserted (10/31): "One-upmanship is an ageold, and
perhaps, therefore, an accepted game in politics. But it appears to have become the
all-important feature of Indo-Pak relations....
The government, it could be said, was appropriating the success and the
agenda of what has come to be known as track two diplomacy. After a week of anxious waiting, Pakistan's
response to the proposals are now at hand.
They can at best be described as lukewarm.... To say that the proposals were tactical is
merely to overstate the obvious. All
moves in foreign policy are made to gain tactical advantage. This is the essence of realpolitik, the
mantra of foreign policymaking. But to
say this openly when a thaw is being sought to be created is to bestow on the
proposals an air of insincerity, which only succeeds in arousing the suspicion
of the other party.... The attempt made
by India to engage Pakistan's civil society, genuine or tactical or a bit of
both, will succeed in increasing that warmth.
But whether the proposals will bring about a thaw between the two
governments is another matter altogether.
There exist enough grounds for skepticism about a stable peace between
India and Pakistan. Gestures may create
goodwill but not peace."
"Struggle For Peace"
Independent Bengali Anandabazar Patrika remarked
(10/31): "It is still unclear how
India would tackle Pakistan's counter-ploy.
However, one thing is evident that this peace initiative is unlikely to
usher in major positive changes.... One
realization must have dawned upon Delhi's BJP leadership by now that there is
no alternative to bestowing official recognition on the LoC. Also, Islamabad must understand that if it
does not stop continual export of arms and terrorism to Kashmir and come
forward with a solution it would be causing infinite harm to itself along with
India. Succinctly, if neither Delhi nor
Islamabad is able to look at Kashmir without an infatuation then all CBM would
get constricted to mere cosmetic gaits."
"Art Of One-Upmanship"
Bharat Bhushan opined in the centrist Telegraph
(10/30): "If, to say nothing,
especially when speaking, is half the art of diplomacy, then...Yashwant Sinha,
perhaps needs to go back to school. He
seems to have let the cat out of the bag....
Now we know what the Indian proposals were all about--they were not a
Diwali gift and they were not something to ruminate over during the holy month
of Ramadan. They were just another
example of one-upmanship. The Pakistani
response, a week later, has only confirmed this. What Sinha is supposed to have told his
partymen makes sense. The Indian offer,
coming as it did quickly on the heals of the shouting match at the United
Nations...surprised the Pakistanis.
Pakistan knew that rejecting the proposals could mean kissing goodbye to
hosting the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation summit at
Islamabad.... As expected, Islamabad was
forced to pick and choose measures on which it was willing to move forward. Pakistan was also forced to announce some
positive-sounding but rather meaningless proposals of its own.... There is no indication though that India’s
Pakistan policy is charting a clear course ahead--beyond short-term fancy
footwork. This is also evident in the
offer of a dialogue with the All Party Hurriyat Conference.... Yashwant Sinha is wrong if he said that the
dialogue with the Hurriyat is meant to divide it.... There is...still hope if good sense prevails
and the Indian political leadership does not get entangled in
"Pakistan Wants Summit Between Vajpayee and
Independent Akhbar-e-Marshriq held
(10/29): “India has been continuously
taking confidence-building steps for establishing normal relations with
Pakistan.... It is common perception in
the circle of political experts that it is the best period for creating good
friendly relationship between the two neighbors. Because in Islamabad an army General is in
power and on the other side the fundamentalist party B.J.P. rules over
Delhi.... On both sides the opposition
have been made inactive. The rulers of
both sides, with a view to strengthening their positions are raising the issue
of Kashmir.... The international
community, even the common Pakistanis, have reacted about the peace proposals
offered by India, in such a positive way that the Parvez Musharraf
administration is very much under-pressure.
Pakistan never wants to welcome any measure taken by India in the
process of making good relationship. It
is because if the India-factor is solved, the rulers of Pakistan will have no
issue. Anti-Indianism has been the part
and parcel of Pakistan politics. Without
this issue no ruler can be on the power in Islamabad.... This time too they are reluctant to greet the
Indian proposals. So the Pakistani
establishment is now asking for summit between Vajpayee and Musharraf. They are saying that only this kind of summit
can solve the real problems."
"Pakistan Caught In Its Own Web"
Pro-Congress, Hindi daily Dainik Hindustan asserted
(10/29): "It will not be very easy
for Pakistan to spurn India's peace offer this time. If it does so, it will be seen as an
obstinate nation in the eyes of the international community. The Pakistani response seems to be caught in
this dilemma. Pakistani strategists are
viewing the Indian proposals as a trap....
Musharraf's government is vexed by the fact that the Indian proposals
have created tremendous enthusiasm among the people of Pakistan. India has, once again, demonstrated its
magnanimity to the world by coming out with the bold proposals."
"The Thirteenth Step"
Mani Shankar Aiyar commented in the centrist Indian
“Vajpayee’s...latest package to Pakistan...is all good...and some
[offers]--such as the proposed Srinagar-Muzaffarabad bus, the Karachi-Mumbai
ferry, and the Munabao-Khokrapar link--are innovative, imaginative. But several others...are merely an attempt at
reviving what we had so foolishly cancelled ourselves. Does, then, the offer add up to a bold new
direction---or is it as bogus as Vajpayee’s ‘hand of friendship’ speech at
Srinagar on April 18?... The Srinagar
speech was not a peace offering so much as a political Alzheimer’s. Vajpayee just forgot to mention the two
preconditions he had till then insisted on as the indispensable precursor to
dialogue--stopping cross-border terrorism and dismantling the infrastructure of
terror.... The NDA, in Kashmir, like the
Americans in the world at large, look upon terrorism as aberrant violence to be
snuffed out by state violence. They do
not understand, as their chums the Americans do not understand, that terrorism
is not gratuitous violence; it has causes....
As for the external front, the NDA’s inability to comprehend the
connection between the persistence of cross-border terrorism and the failure to
get the India-Pakistan dialogue going is once again underlined by Vajpayee’s
failure to announce the Thirteenth Step--which must be dialogue.... Unless we address the eight broad issues
agreed upon at Murree, Vajpayee’s 12 steps will be no more than a transitory
propaganda coup. The billion and a quarter people of India and Pakistan deserve
more than media spin.”
"The Greatest Push For Peace"
Rajya Sabha and Balbir K. Punj wrote in the
centrist Asian Age (10/28): "Virtually, the PM has left no leg for
the Pakistan President to stand on. In
this initiative, the Pakistani people are the most important target. This point would not have been lost on their
President.... The message also says that
India is not afraid of people-to-people contact between the two parts of Kashmir.... The offer of high-level talks with the
separatist group in J&K has put it in an embarrassing position. With the peace barometer rising among
Kashmir’s people, the Hurriyat would be hard put to reject this offer. To accept it would jeopardize the game it is
playing, abetted by its backers in Islamabad.... The Pakistani establishment would also not
fail to read the powerful message New Delhi is sending to it by proposing the
restarting of negotiations with it on the one hand and energizing the ongoing
healing touch program in Kashmir on the other, along with the freely elected
local government in the state.... New
Delhi is strengthening its position in Kashmir with these initiatives that
started with the conduct of the first free and independent election in that
state. The entire political discourse in
Kashmir is no longer on whether that state should secede, but how it could
restructure its relations with New Delhi within the larger Indian state. With the opening of dialogue with even
separatist elements...and seeking to open up a window to the Kashmiris across
the LoC...New Delhi is clearly on an upswing in Jammu and Kashmir.”
"Pakistan's Cold Response"
Nationalist Urdu-language Rashtriya Sahara
editorialized (10/28): “The response of
the political leadership in Pakistan to India’s recent 12-point peace
initiative is not very encouraging and, contrary to the initial optimism, no
drastic change of situation in the current Indo-Pak equation seems to be
coming. Such a cold response from Pakistan
is in keeping with its past record.
However, Pakistan should take a realistic view of India’s proposals
which would serve the interests of the two countries equally by bringing the
people on the two sides of the subcontinent closer and promoting bilateral
Pro-BJP Pratrap observed (10/28): “As
usual, Islamabad has refused to be excited by the Indian offer saying that the
proposals do not include a dialogue that Pakistan has been insisting upon. Pakistanis should not lose heart. They should remain optimistic of the
self-contradictory tendency of our leaders, who may ultimately announce their
willingness to hold unconditional talks with Pakistan as well.... As far as Pakistan is concerned, it is in a
dilemma how to respond to India’s peace proposals. India’s initiative has been lauded
internationally as a bold step forward to facilitate peace in the region. Although the proposals have been widely
welcomed by its own people, Pakistan finds it politically and diplomatically
more advantageous to make noise over holding talks than to work on solid ground
preparation for lasting peace.”
"Roadmap For Peace"
Independent Urdu-language Siasat judged
(10/27): “India’s new peace offer has
sent everyone wondering what actually made the BJP-led government change its
rigid position which was actually threatening to reverse whatever progress had
been made toward normalization of relations since Vajpayee's speech in
Srinagar. Regardless of what made the
BJP-led government change its position, the need is to work upon the proposals
and allow progress in the peace process.
As far as talks are concerned, they can be held as soon as Pakistan’s
positive response and cooperation raises the level of mutual confidence. To facilitate this, people to people links
should be widened as strengthened through the involvement of intellectuals and
peace activists of the two countries.”
"Ups And Down In Indo-Pak Relations"
Independent, Urdu-langugage biweekly Dawat
contended (10/27): "Be it the
problem of terrorism or any other issue of concern, both India and Pakistan
have a tendency to court U.S. favor for their positions. Currently, both India and Pakistan are
indulged in winning U.S. support of their campaign of blaming each other for the
sabotaging peace and stability in the South Asian region.... Because of this attitude of courting others,
the bilateral issues between India and Pakistan have become a subject of
interference by major global powers, which explains why several attempts by the
two countries to smooth their relationship have always met with failure. The leadership of the two countries will have
to get rid of the psychological complication that chronically ill of suspicion
and distrust. Only then any meaningful
progress is possible."
"India's Positive Unilateralism"
C. Raja Mohan noted in the centrist Hindu
(10/27): “After making a big impression
with its offer of a package of confidence-building measures last week to
Pakistan, the Government must now be prepared to sustain this initiative
irrespective of the nature of Islamabad's reaction. If Pakistan does respond positively to some
of the proposals it should be relatively easy to build on the momentum. But if Pakistan's reaction is essentially
negative, India must be in a position to unveil another series of moves. If India's emerging strategy towards Pakistan
might be called ‘positive unilateralism’, the core assumption underlying it
must be that New Delhi will not take 'no' for an answer.... The first priority for India is to find ways
to unilateraly implement some of the proposals it had unveiled last week. For example, India could unilaterally let
senior citizens cross the border on foot.
Economic cooperation is particularly amenable to unilateral action. Instead of continuing to negotiate tariff
reductions in a multilateral or bilateral format, India could unilaterally
announce greater market access to a range of exportable goods in
Pakistan.... If India and Pakistan want
to be treated as serious nuclear weapons powers, they need to have a mechanism
for continuous consultations on issues relating to military stability. Why should this important issue be tied up to
the so-called composite dialogue? If the
Government begins to think creatively, the strategy of positive unilateralism
offers a huge number of diplomatic options to retain the political initiative
vis-ŕ-vis Pakistan and begin the process of chipping away at the compulsive
hostility that dominates the military establishment in Pakistan.”
"Yes, Prime Minister"
The pro-BJP right-of-center Pioneer
asserted (10/27): “PM Vajpayee continues
to confound his critics by displaying political skills when least
expected. His latest double peace
initiative with Pakistan as well as separatist groups in the Kashmir Valley
came at a time when a widespread public perception existed that the Government
had thrown up its hands on both fronts....
In fact, regardless of success or failure, these initiatives are bound
to further strengthen the image of the Prime Minister as a man of peace
determined to defuse confrontation regardless of the odds. The new peace initiative, for instance, is a
classic example of Vajpayee's growing diplomatic finesse. Clearly, the most publicized component of the
latest Indian proposals to Islamabad is the offer to resume cricketing ties--an
obsession in the subcontinent....
Indeed, it will be interesting to see Islamabad's response to the
proposal of expanding communications between India and Pakistan. So far, the Musharraf regime has been
pointedly dragging its feet on the resumption of air links, particularly
over-flights, on the flimsiest grounds....
The peace initiative with the Hurriyat in Kashmir is complimentary to
the series of confidence-building measures suggested to Islamabad. There is little doubt that the move is geared
to counter Pakistani claims that the latest set of Indian proposals was a ruse
to brush the core issue of Kashmir under the carpet. With a democratically elected Government in
place and on-going negotiations with the most credible umbrella of separatist
groups in the Valley, Vajpayee can, with considerable justification, scoff at
talks emanating from Islamabad about his Government neglecting the aspirations
of the Kashmiri people.... Judging from
the wide welcome that the new set of peace initiatives by the Prime Minister
has received at home and abroad, his gamble seems to be paying off.... Vajpayee seems to have once again proved why
he has emerged as the country's tallest leader since the demise of Indira
"Enemies Of Peace"
The nationalist Hindustand Times judged
(10/25): “The intemperate reactions of
the Hindutva hawks to the latest Indian peace overtures to Pakistan show that
it isn’t only the jihadis across the border who are unhappy about any prospect
of peace. There are elements on this
side, too, who will not be pleased if there is a breakthrough in India-Pakistan
relations.... It is because of the
resistance which the Vajpayee government will face from among its own
supporters that it is sometimes said that the best chance of a peace between India
and Pakistan is when the BJP is in power in New Delhi and a military man in
Islamabad.... The sense of moderation
which a stint in power induces in a government--and possibly Vajpayee’s own
pacifist intentions--have now persuaded the BJP to distance itself from the
hard liners. However, the ability of the
hawks to throw a spanner in the works...should not be discounted.”
"A Sparkling Season"
The centrist Indian Express asserted
(10/25): “Prime Minister Vajpayee’s
pre-Diwali and pre-Ramzan peace initiative in Jammu and Kashmir has added to
the general optimism in the economy. His
initiative was the lead story in the Asian Wall Street Journal.... Whatever Pakistan’s response, the market at
home and abroad has internalized the fact that India is intent on giving peace
a chance. This ought to further bolster
investor sentiment and encourage more tourists to travel to the
subcontinent.... What the region should
appreciate is that peace in South Asia is not divisible. Regional peace and stability and an end to
crossborder terrorism can not only help sustain the feel good feeling across
the region but help accelerate growth....
However, to sustain this process and step up growth so that the scourge
of mass poverty is eradicated and employment opportunities are made available
to many more, it is necessary to persist with economic reform and with
investment in infrastructure.... In its
enthusiasm to be pro-active on liberalization, the government should not take
questionable steps that may be counter-productive if they invite a political
backlash on grounds of cronyism and corruption.”
"Kashmir And Advani's Initiative"
Independent Bengali Ananda Bazar Patrika
noted (10/25): “What is remarkable is
that militants in either side are advancing with opposition to the Vajpayee
Government’s peace initiatives. Staunch
Hindu organizations like the VHP or the Shiv Sena have strongly criticized the
soft stance of the Vajpayee government towards Pakistan...and they want war.”
"A Bold Initiative"
The centrist Hindu held (10/24): "This is very much part of the Vajpayee
Government's policy of engaging actively with Pakistan and promoting bilateral
contacts and interactions in several areas notwithstanding the bitter
differences that exist between the two countries.... With these concrete proposals, New Delhi has
given an incentive to the people of Pakistan to challenge their leadership's
view that the core issues need to be resolved first, as a precondition for full
normalization.... If Islamabad has been
taken by surprise by New Delhi's offer, it has responded positively
enough. The hope is that the engagement
exercise this time will be both wide and sustained.... Pakistan might need to reappraise its views
on the LoC now that India has proposed a practical way of popular
interaction.... The best hope for an
upturn and eventually a breakthrough in India-Pakistan relations is for
ordinary people to realize that constructive engagement is the only sensible
path and that a climate of trust and cordiality is needed to tackle and resolve
"Will Musharraf Soften"
The nationalist Hindustan Times stated
(10/24): “India seems to have decided to
break away from the unfriendly atmosphere created by the sharply-worded
speeches of both Musharaf and Vajpayee before the UN general assembly. The latest package underlines careful preparation
which even an unwilling Pakistan will have to accept as a major step
forward.... The Pakistani
suspicions...may be all the greater this time because Islamabad has seen how
the lowering of barriers enthuses the ordinary people on both sides of the
border.... It goes without saying that
the latest proposals will give a further boost to this sense of goodwill
through the strengthening of air and road links, especially the bus service
between the two halves of Kashmir, the ferry service between Mumbai and Karachi
and last, but not the least, the resumption of cricketing ties ... The two
countries will be able to step back from the brink towards which it has
advanced far too often. But will the
jihadis in Pakistan, who include sections of the army and the ISI, accept such
an improvement in ties? This is the
crucial test before General Musharraf and his administration.”
"A New Beginning"
The pro-economic-reform Economic Times
contended (10/24): “The prime minister’s
latest peace initiatives are based almost entirely on building people-to-people
relations. Even in the limited area of
improving people-to-people relations, it is important not to expect too
much.... A section of the extremists in
Pakistan are keen to mend fences with India in an effort to keep the U.S. out
of the Kashmir dispute. And however
limited the improvement in the relations between the two peoples, it would help
keep warmongers, on both sides, at bay.
The latest initiative may not have the dramatic potential of a bus ride
to Lahore or a summit against the backdrop of the Taj, but it could represent a
much more significant, if quiet, step forward.”
The Pro-BJP right-of-center Pioneer held
(10/24): “That India has put Pakistan on
the backfoot by proposing...a package of confidence-building measures to
normalize relations between the two countries, is evident from the response
of...Islamabad's Foreign Office spokesman....
Significantly, he said nothing that indicated that Pakistan would
respond positively to the proposals but described the kind of proposals to
which it would respond positively....
Khan's verbal jugglery suggested that at least its initial reaction is
not to welcome them. This is hardly
surprising. What Pakistan wants is not a
carefully calibrated move towards an all-round improvement in its ties with
India but a dialogue that will pave the way for its annexation of Jammu and
Kashmir. Wednesday's proposals will not
help in this direction.... There is a
strong demand in Pakistan for the resumption not only of sporting ties with
this country, particularly in cricket, but also of the Samjhauta Express
service which enabled people to travel to India relatively cheaply. India's proposal to restart both and also
increase the frequency of the Delhi-Lahore Sadbhavana bus service, is,
therefore bound to be warmly welcomed there....
Clearly, the proposals have been well-thought out to promote peace through
greater people-to-people contact while simultaneously furthering India's
national interest. But, as Pakistan's
reaction shows, these are unlikely to end cross-border terrorism. In fact, Pakistan, outflanked by the sudden
move, may well respond by stepping up its incidence. New Delhi must be prepared.”
"Two Steps Forward"
The centrist Times Of India commented
(10/24): “Just when we were on the verge
of writing off the PM’s Srinagar peace initiative...Islamabad has been offered
12 specific proposals aimed at reducing tension and promoting official and
people-to-people contact; and the Center has dropped its antipathy to any
official level dialogue with the Hurriyat Conference.... Taken together the two steps still do not
amount to a comprehensive policy shift.
The boldness of thinking that the latest initiatives embody is a welcome
change from the timidity and half-heartedness that have marred the Vajpayee
government’s earlier overtures. As
things stand, it is still far from clear how Pakistan will react to the 12
confidence building measures. If
Islamabad refuses to drop its insistence on securing a guarantee from India
about the non-disruption of over-flight rights, then the process will be
stillborn. But if the two sides can move
quickly to restart air and rail links...then it is possible the momentum for
dialogue on more substantive issues may also pick up.... The very fact that the government is today
keen to resume transport--and sporting--links with Pakistan despite
cross-border infiltration is proof that ‘tough’ decisions of this kind only
inconvenience ordinary citizens and not terrorists. As for discussions with the Hurriyat, the aim
should be rapidly to move towards a generalized ‘non-initiation of combat
‘operations’ in Jammu and Kashmir of the sort envisaged during the Hizbul
Mujahideen’s short-lived 2000 cease-fire and the Center’s own ‘Ramzan’ response
later that year.... The direct line to
Hurriyat is hopefully a signal from the government that it intends to persevere
regardless of what Islamabad does or doesn’t do.”
Pratap Bhanu Mehta observed in the centrist Hindu
(10/24): “The real challenge for India
is not simply that we need to overcome doubts about Pakistani regime's
commitment to a credible peace. The
challenge is that we have no substantial concession to give to a Pakistani
leadership such that any settlement could be made politically credible inside
Pakistan. Faced with such a formidable
quagmire we need radical rethinking. We
need a political culture in both India and Pakistan that understands that
nationalism is the enemy of the national interest, a political culture that is
prepared to pay a short run price for a new architecture for the
subcontinent. India should not think of
its new proposals as a bargaining chip, to be withdrawn at the first venial
slight, but as a step towards altering the entire discourse of international
relations in South Asia.... India will
have to take the initiative in this transformation. While we ought to be vigilant about
terrorism, India has nothing to lose by being as unilaterally generous as it
can in as many areas as possible, to show that it is credibly committed to a
new regional imagination. Only then can
we alter the incentives that constrain the prospects for peace.”
"India's Peace Proposals"
Nationalist Urdu-langauge Rashtriya Sahara editorialized
(10/24): “India’s 12-point proposal for
promoting people to people relations and enhance bilateral confidence came as a
real surprise to everyone in view of its firm rejection of hold talks with
Pakistan. It is only natural that new
proposals aimed at strengthening peace and stability in the region have been
widely welcomed and lauded by the international community. The people of the two countries, too, want
the same. It is a golden opportunity for
Pakistan to take advantage of these proposals and wash the bad image it has
earned because of its role in Afghanistan and Kashmir. Also, it is time for Pakistan to review it
thinking on Kashmir and its approach of resolving the dispute.”
Independent Urdu-language Awam declared
(10/24): “India has really made a
revolutionary offer to improve relations with Pakistan notwithstanding the fact
that the latter has not been very cooperative in this regard. Although India has refused to have official
dialogue with Pakistan unless and until the latter stops terrorism from across
the border, the new offer is historic in the current atmosphere. It is now Pakistan’s responsibility to come
up with a matching positive response to the offer so that the two countries
could march together to peace, stability and mutual trust."
"Diwali In Pakistan"
Left-of-center Marathi daily Loksatta
opined (10/24): “India has once again
extended its hand for friendship with Pakistan.
The earlier attempts to improve relations were obstructed, thanks to the
contentious issue of Pakistan-sponsored terrorism. The recent 12-point package of proposals
forwarded by India is also likely to face opposition, especially on one or two
sensitive suggestions. But at least the
conciliatory process will be furthered in the meantime.... Therefore, the Indian government’s fresh
package of proposals can be looked upon as a Diwali gift to Pakistan during the
latter’s holy month of Ramzan.... The
Srinagar-Muzaffarabad road link will be a positive political development, as it
will mean mutual recognition of the control of both the countries over the
different parts of Kashmir, falling on either side of the Line of Actual
"Sailing To Karachi"
The centrist Telegraph stated (10/24):
“The new initiative launched by New Delhi to build confidence in its relations
with Pakistan and to further the dialogue in Jammu and Kashmir must be
welcomed.... The spirit behind the
proposal seems to be to improve people-to-people contacts and target Pakistan’s
civil society.... There is little,
however, that India offered by way of official talks. Indeed, even a proposed hotline between the
coast guard of India and of Pakistan on the existing pattern of the
directors-general of military operations and flag meetings at sea is aimed at
non-arrest of fishermen by the two countries in a mutually agreed zone.... It can only be hoped that the latest initiatives
are not mere tactics, but a well thought out long term-strategy by New Delhi to
bring peace to South Asia."
"Vajpayee's Twelve Points"
Independent Bengali Ananda Bazar Patrika
commented (10/24): “Maybe, the American
administration will now realize that New Delhi is really serious about
permanent peace in the subcontinent despite Islamabad’s provocations and
exploitations and that it should not be allotted the same seat with warmonger
Pakistan. The Pakistani rulers will also
examine the proposals. That the
bilateral steps of exchange require more urgent implementation pending the
summits of the two heads of state must have to be followed. It is cricket alone that can unravel huge
possibilities of bringing the two adversaries of the subcontinent
nearer.... Politicians often overlook
the depths and dimensions of exchange of hearts by the people.... Now the diplomats, especially the bureaucrats
and officials of the two embassies will have to take the initiative. For, normalizing bilateral relations is an
Constructive Response On 12 Indian Suggestions"
Leading mass-circulation Urdu-language Jang judged
(10/31): "Although the recent steps
taken by India and Pakistan are not being termed as an open progress towards
negotiations but it is a fact that this proposal and counter-proposal
situations has generated an atmosphere of 'dialogue' if not negotiations
between the two countries."
"Indian Peace Proposals: Pakistan’s Positive Response"
Center-right Urdu-language Pakistan editorialized
(10/31): "By accepting many of the
12 proposals by India, and by adding three more from its side, Pakistan has
demonstrated its sincerity towards peace in the region. It remains to be seen how India responds to
the Pakistani proposals. Indian
initiative in the name of peace proposals was actually a ploy to mislead world
opinion and divert attention away from bilateral dialogue, which has failed. Eventually, India will have to come to the
"Indian Peace Proposals: Pakistan’s Written Response
Independent Urdu-language Din observed (10/31): "On the one hand, India is advertising
the peace proposals it has made, yet on the other its Defense Minister is --per
tradition and habit--threatening Pakistan with war. However, the impression must be dispelled
that Pakistan has responded positively to Indian proposals under some
(external) pressure.... It is appalling
that at the time that Pakistan was handing over a written response to the India
High Commissioner, India, in its war frenzy, was testing its Russian-made
Brahmos missile--inviting an arms race in the region."
"Pakistan’s Positive Response to Indian Proposals"
Populist Urdu-language Khabrain stated (10/31): "The international community is a
witness to the fact that Pakistan has offered a positive response to the Indian
proposals, and has suggested three more that can help improve bilateral relations. If India is earnest in improving ties with
Pakistan, it must accept Pakistani proposals immediately and give up its
intransigence. It must adopt measures
that can resolve the bigger issues also."
The centrist national English-language News opined
(10/31): "One can only hope that
now that Pakistan has accepted nearly all the proposals, the Indian leaders
will be willing to hold talks to break the ice and resume normal
relations.... There is, therefore, no
real reason for not setting a date to start across the table negotiations
except possibly a desire to maintain a facade of reluctance."
"The Right Response"
The center-left independent national English-language Dawn
noted (10/31): "The situation looks
somewhat better than it did earlier. It
is important that rather than unilateral announcements at press conferences and
briefings and the usual grandstanding, follow-up measures are quietly
deliberated upon between senior officials."
The center-right national English-language Nation asserted
(10/31): "Pakistan’s acceptance 'in
principle' of the Confidence Building Measures India proposed some days back,
putting forward certain ideas about their implementation and listing some fresh
offers of its own, is a reasonable approach....
One can only hope that the Indian leadership sees the urgency of
initiating a genuine process of peace in the Subcontinent, which is possible
only by sitting across the table with its Pakistani counterpart and settling
disputes amicably and peacefully."
"Need For Substantive Indo-Pak Talks"
The rightist English-language Pakistan Observer concluded
(10/31): "Pakistan’s response in
fact, constitutes a step forward towards the revival of normal ties between the
two nuclear rivals. It’s a matter
of record that Pakistan has always strived to maintain good neighborly
relations with India. It’s, however,
unfortunate that India has invariably opted for confrontation with Pakistan to
destabilize the Indo-Pak relations....
India must understand that peace in the region hinges on the peaceful
settlement of the Kashmir dispute.... It
must, therefore, resume the stalled dialogue for its own sake as well as for
the sake of peace in the subcontinent."
"Vajpayee's Vision of Peace"
M.J. Akbar wrote in the center-left independent national
English-language Dawn (10/31):
"Indians and Pakistanis have become so wary of failure that they
have stopped believing that anything sensible can happen. President Musharraf has said that the sense
of dismay in Pakistan at the failure of Agra was profound. He too then heard the echo of a muted longing
for peace and normality. Here is a
chance to reawaken that oft-defeated hope."
"So-called U.S. Efforts"
Sensationalist pro-Jihad Urdu Ummat
stated (10/30): "None of the
succeeding U.S. administrations has taken any practical interest in the
resolution of the Kashmir issue. Rather,
by declaring India as its natural ally, patronage has been provided to India by
the U.S. After 9/11, the U.S. has
declared the freedom fighters in Kashmir as terrorists and has forced Pakistan
to stop their training and patronage. If
the U.S. is really interested in reducing tensions in this region then it
should force India to come to the negotiating table."
"CBMs In South Asia Mean
The liberal English-language Daily Times
editorialized (10/30): "Everybody
knows that India has so far spurned Pakistan’s proposal for comprehensive
bilateral talks and that the Indian CBMs were simply a diversionary
tactic. Yet, under the bleak
circumstances of South Asia, the international community responded to them with
praise. Now India has got itself into a
bind with the Pakistani response. It is
a foregone conclusion how it would react.
Both countries will be back to square one. There is a lesson here for both sides, but
especially India. It won’t help to try
and outsmart each other. To be able to
win support internationally, both will have to change the intentions behind
this now sickeningly routine exercise.
Let’s put an end to the one-upmanship."
The center-right national English-language Nation
held (10/30): "When New Delhi
proposed a number of CBMs last week one had expected the Foreign Office to
promptly respond with well-crafted moves of its own. It was not until Wednesday that it came
through. On Tuesday Foreign Secretary
Riaz Khokhar was scheduled to brief the press on Islamabad's response. The briefing was however suddenly deferred on
account of 'further internal considerations' to make it 'constructive and
all-inclusive' as a Foreign office spokesman put it.... One is constrained therefore to conclude that
the delay is connected with the telephonic conversation between Secretary
Powell, who had earlier welcomed India's CBMs, and Mr. Khurshid Kasuri on
Tuesday.... CBMs can work only as a part
of a composite agenda that accepts Kashmir's centrality. In that respect, Islamabad's Wednesday response
makes an effort, but the perception that it needed 'foreign clearance' is
unfortunate and weakens the Pakistani negotiating position."
"The Need for Caution"
Independent Urdu-language Din judged
(10/29): "Pakistan has displayed a
much-needed cautious attitude while responding to the Indian
confidence-building measures announced recently.... India must realize that in the atmosphere in
which these 12 proposals have been made, it is not possible for Pakistan to
come up with an immediate acceptance.
Additionally most of these proposals are like old wine in new
bottles.... However, Pakistan must not
reject these proposals as some would have positive effects if implemented. At the same time, it is important that India
is not allowed to present these proposals as an alternative to a regular
dialogue and political process (to improve bilateral relations)."
The center-right national English-language Nation observed
(10/29): "It (India) should have
realized by now that it cannot cow down Pakistan through the show of force and
that the dogs of war by their very nature would be hard to restrain, once let
slip. And between two nuclear neighbors
they could lead to extremely ferocious consequences."
"Time To Move Beyond Point-Scoring"
Shireen M. Mazari stated in the centrist national English-language
News (10/29): "India’s
so-called proposals really try to once again sidestep the core issue of Kashmir
and evade the need for a dialogue to resolve all outstanding issues. Pakistan has done the right thing by not
responding in kind and succumbing to playing a game of one-upmanship. Otherwise, there are many proposals, which
could have been put forward--none of which would really resolve the strategic
instability of the subcontinent.... However,
while the world takes its time to see the real face of India, the Indian
leadership should realize that it cannot move ahead simply playing diplomatic
games while serious conflictual issues remain unresolved with its
"The Indian Proposals"
Najmuddin A. Shaikh wrote in the center-left independent national
English-language Dawn (10/29):
"It is against this backdrop that the Indian proposals have to be
viewed. Many in Pakistan would argue
that responding positively to India's proposals or making counter-proposals
when India has rejected a dialogue on the agreed agenda would mean 'a negation
or at least erosion of Pakistan's principled stand.' This would, to my mind, be a mistake.... The proposals must be examined to see how far
they serve to achieve this objective"
"Next Stop: Srinagar"
Mahir Ali opined in the center-left independent national
English-language Dawn (10/29):
"Let us not by any means forget Kashmir. But let us also not forget that warmth on
other fronts could prove conducive to fruitful discussions on that subject. A resolution of the imbroglio requires bold
new ideas from both sides, as well as a recognition that the interests of
Kashmiris should be considered paramount....
Let us keep moving in the right direction. To miss the bus as it begins its picturesque
journey through the riven valley would be irresponsible. And unforgivable."
An op-ed by Inayatullah in the centrist national
English-language News declared (10/28):
"India should not think of its new proposals as a bargaining chip
but as a step towards altering the entire discourse of international relations
in South Asia with an emphasis on trade, open borders, and a consensus on human
rights. While we ought to be vigilant
about terrorism, India has nothing to lose by being as unilaterally generous as
it can in as many areas as possible.
These ideas provide a lot of food for thought for Pakistanis."
"Myth and Reality of Peace Moves,"
An op-ed by Dr. Moonis Ahmar in the centrist
national English-language News (10/28):
"Why the policy-makers of India and Pakistan take only cosmetic
measures is not difficult to gauge. The
mafias in the two countries tend to be so strong that they make sure not to
take practical steps, which could result in a change in the status quo and the
loss of their power and privileges, which they have accumulated as a result of
decades of confrontation. Such mafias
are not only in state structures of the two countries but are also quite
entrenched at the non-governmental level.
Hard line political groups and parties of the two countries have a holy
alliance with the hawks holding power.
It means, till the time an ordinary person of India and Pakistan is
conscious enough to understand the 'dirty game' which these mafias are playing
in the name of religion, patriotism and national security, it will be difficult
to believe in such peace initiatives and proposals."
"Musharraf’s Elusive 'No-Win'
An op-ed by Ahmad Faruqui in the Lahore-based
liberal English-language Daily Times (10/28): "President Musharraf wants to create a
'no-win' scenario with India based on what he terms minimum credible
deterrence. Addressing a gathering of
troops at Pano Aquil, he said it was critical for Pakistan to maintain a
deployment of forces that would deny victory to India.... Any analyst would be hard pressed to say that
Pakistan is in a position to deny victory to India. One would expect this imbalance to worsen
over time, given India’s plans to spend $95 billion on weapons procurement over
the next 15 years. Given the
discrepancies in population and GDP between the two countries, and the faster
growth rate of the IT-driven Indian economy, Pakistan is no position to match
"Negotiations Cannot Be Held At Gunpoint;
Will Give A Befitting Response If War Imposed"
Mass circulation Urdu-language Jang
insisted (10/28): "Prime Minister
Zafrullah Jamali has said that Pakistan wanted a meaningful dialogue with India
but India should not escape from important issues. He said that negotiations could not be held
at gunpoint and if war were imposed on Pakistan a befitting reply would be
"Peace Cannot Be Brokered With Gun: Foreign
The rightist nationalist Pakistan Observer
(10/28): "Pakistan intends to give
a well-considered, robust and constructive response to the twelve Indian
proposals about dialogue on confidence-building measures but remains extremely
apprehensive about the sincerity of the CBMs as some reports suggest that New
Delhi is terming these proposals as tactical move to deflect world
opinion. Foreign Office spokesman Masood
Khan during the weekly news briefing also expressed Pakistan’s disappointment
over the fact that Indians have sidelined important elements of the composite
dialogue on Kashmir, Siachen and peace and security while announcing the 12
CBMs, half of which in fact belonged to the CBMs proposed by Prime Minister
Zafarullah Khan Jamali in May this year."
"Ridiculous Threat by Indian Foreign
Leading mass circulation Urdu-language Jang
held (10/27): "The threat by India
that either Pakistan start dialogue on its twelve proposals or get ready for
war exposed Indian intentions. In fact
war is not the solution but it creates problems. Pakistan has always insisted on dialogue with
India. Only dialogue is the solution and
can provide sustainable peace."
"Another Indian Threat"
Karachi's right-wing pro-Islamic unity Urdu-language Jasarat
declared (10/27): "The recent
threat by the Indian Foreign Minister has broken all previous records of
threats by India. This is all due to the
mistakes and irresponsible attitude of our rulers. We have been writing that
India is working on the issue of a united India and want to use Pakistan as an
additional market for them. Americans
are also teaching us that we are not at par with India. If the situation remains the same we will
surrender without war. Musharraf has no
other experience except surrendering."
"Tone Of Indian Defense Minister"
The sensationalist Urdu language Ummat
held (10/27): "Indian Foreign
Minister Fernandes threatened Pakistan to either come to the dialogue table or
get ready for war. He also clarified
that this is the last offer. The new
proposals by India are not new and it has been in practice in the past. The most important issue is missing in its
offer, and that is Kashmir. In a way
India threatened to start dialogue on every issue except Kashmir or get ready
for war since they have accumulated enough weapons from Israel and Russia. In fact this is a message for war and not for
peace because whatever India wants is not acceptable for Pakistan."
The centrist national English daily News
(10/27): "Strangely enough Mr.
Fernandes has got his knowledge of the government’s policy towards Pakistan all
mixed up as it is Islamabad that is desirous of holding talks at the earliest
and it is Delhi which is setting unending conditions for talks. The option to sit across the table will be
infinitely acceptable only if the Indian Minister can now convince his Prime
Minister to end the hedging game and go for talks. War is a non-option as the public statements
of both sides make it abundantly clear that they want peace."
Proposals for Restoration of Ties"
Second largest Urdu daily Nawa-e-Waqt editorialized
(10/24): "The Indian External
Affairs Minister Yashwant Sinha said that the proposals were aimed at throwing
the ball in Pakistan’s court prior to SAARC conference. The dozen or so measures suggested by India
are not new and some of them remained operative after independence. So much so that apart from a temporary ban on
travel during the 1965 and 1971 wars, the two peoples had the facility of
travel between the two countries....
Present restrictions were imposed by India, which forced Pakistan to
introduce counter measures.... Deputy
Prime Minister L.K. Advani’s exercise of dialogue with the Hurriat Conference
has failed before it began while the goodwill proposals are merely a showpiece
and a stunt. All this is aimed at diverting
the international community’s attention from the actual dispute and creating
misunderstandings between Kashmiris and Pakistan."
Irfan Siddiqui wrote in second largest Urdu
daily Nawa-e-Waqt (10/24):
"Now the international shower of praise will wash all the blood
spots, from Gujrat to Ayodhya and Srinagar to Jammu and India will emerge as a
peace loving country. No one will see
the dagger India has under its arm."
"Need To Give Positive Response To Twelve
Leading mass-circulation Urdu language Jang
asserted (10/24): "India has a
track record of offering suggestions for the restoration of relations with
Pakistan and subsequently backtracking from these. Notwithstanding, a new ray of hope has
emerged with this Indian step in the wake of the current global and regional
situation. Pakistan should consider
these suggestions and give a positive response without any delay."
"India’s New Jugglery"
Sensationalist, pro-Jihad Urdu daily Ummat
remarked (10/24): "The recent
suggestions put forth by India are reflective of its desire to put the Kashmir
issue on the back burner and show the international community that both
countries are heading towards rapprochement."
"India’s Main Predicament: Refusal to Engage
Right-wing, pro-Islamic unity Urdu Jasarat
commented (10/24): "The main issue
for the restoration of relations between India and Pakistan is that of
Kashmir. As long as this issue is not
addressed, full relations cannot be resorted even if some supplementary steps
"Indian Suggestions: Attempt To Divert
Attention From Main Issue"
Pro-Taliban/Jihad Urdu language Islam
held (10/24): "India is not ready
to move an inch ahead towards the main [Kashmir] issue. Pakistan should not show any leniency to
India (on its recent suggestions)."
"Duplicity of the Indian Rulers"
Pro-Taliban Peshawar-based Urdu language Mashriq
noted (10/24): "While announcing
the confidence building measures, India’s External Affairs Minister said that
his country would not hold dialogue with Pakistan. The Indian stand is that no dialogue can take
place unless cross-border terrorism stops.
It’s a duplicitous policy because on the one hand India is coming up
with CBMs but on the other hand attaching conditions to initiate a dialogue
process.... Indian rulers are
'unparalleled in deceitfulness' and by proposing to restore links between the
two countries, they are trying to give the impression to the world that India
"Fresh Proposals by India"
Center-right Urdu language Pakistan
judged (10/24): "The proposals
India has given, are not new and some of them like restoration of sports links
have already been proposed by Pakistan....
Responding to questions at the press conference Indian External Affairs
Minister rejected the possibility of composite dialogue with Pakistan on the
pretext of the oft-repeated infiltration accusation. Out of 12 proposals, the one on
Srinagar-Muzafferabad bus service is very important.... So far the India behaved contrary to this
proposal by not giving visas for occupied Kashmir and not permitting Kashmiris
(from Indian side) to visit Pakistan.
Srinagar-Muzafferabad bus service would enhance relations between the Kashmiris,
which could give a better result in future....
By presenting the proposals and deciding to talk with Hurriat
Conference, India has attempted to change the situation in its favor and tried
a new way to avoid dialogue with Pakistan."
"Indian Proposals for Resumption of Ties
Are Not an Alternative for Talks"
Independent Urdu language Din stated
(10/24): "There is no doubt that
these cosmetic proposals are aimed at fooling the international community,
especially the U.S., rather than a real move towards peace.... As expected, the U.S. was the first to
respond to these proposals, and welcome them.
However, it should be understood by all that these proposals do not lead
to the real issue (between the two countries).
Despite this, Pakistan should react positively to these proposals rather
than reject them outright. After all,
implementation of these proposals will pave the way for bilateral talks and not
"Indian Proposals for Resumption of Ties
(With Pakistan) and the Ground Reality"
Populist Urdu language Khabrain asserted
(10/24): "A review of the Indian
proposals shows that most of the issues are already being implemented or under
consideration.... Why then, has the
Indian government made these proposals?
A simple answer would be that the Indian leadership...has tried to fool
the public on the two sides as well as the international community.... Instead of focusing on superficial matters
(as India as done) the need is to concentrate on the major issues confronting
South Asia. The real issue between India
and Pakistan is not the need for cricket matches or resumption of rail links,
but the Kashmir dispute."
The centrist national English-language News
stated (10/24): "The 12 confidence
building measures (CBM) offered by India need careful consideration as there is
much that appears meaningful in them and a lot that has trivial
importance.... However, the CBMs do
address some of the immediate problems the people of both sides face and the
efforts to create normality in their relations, which will be effective and
workable.... Pakistan's government has
rightly assured that it will give the proposed package 'serious consideration',
but it could not hide its disappointment that India while making the offer
simultaneously reiterated its rejection of Pakistan’s offer to resume
substantive and sustained dialogue to resolve all issues, notably the Jammu and
Kashmir dispute. This obviously
indicates the wide gap between Islamabad’s interest in a dialogue to resolve
all issues including that of Kashmir, and Delhi’s stand that the dialogue can
only be held when relations are normalized, which can be translated to mean
that Pakistan must 'end' violence in held Kashmir. However, the CBMs can be seen as a hint that
India was willing to at least start communicating which will be an improvement
over its policy in which its leaders even refused to shake hands with Pakistani
"Cart Before The Horse"
The center-right national English-language Nation
editorialized (10/24): "Instead of
agreeing to hold a composite dialogue, New Delhi has made offers that come in
the category of CBMs.... The offers are
a well-crafted diplomatic move aimed at silencing international criticism of
New Delhi’s refusal to hold parleys with Islamabad despite its repeated
offers.... With the Indian army
continuing repression in Held Kashmir it would be unrealistic to expect
Islamabad to enter into talks on the CBMs offered by Mr. Yashwant Sinha. Few would doubt that confidence-building
measures can play an important role in decreasing tensions and settling
disputes but these are to be of an altogether different type."
"Respond Positively To Indian CBMs"
The liberal English-language Daily Times
concluded (10/24): "No one should
belittle the import of these measures.
But there are two awkward points in the Indian list. One relates to over-flights; the other to the
proposed Muzzaffarabad-Srinagar bus service....
Previous rounds of talks on restoring air links and over-flights have
failed to produce a result. India says a
restoration of rail links is conditional on a restoration of over-flight rights
and air links. But Pakistan wants to
bind India in a bilateral agreement to prevent it from banning over-flights
again.... The point of the whole
exercise should be to establish sincerity in building confidence and resolving
disputes and not about making points and counter-points. That is why India needs to agree to a
dialogue with Pakistan if it wants the world to believe it is sincere about
peace in the region."
Center-left independent national
English-language Dawn opined (10/24):
"The proposed package will have to be fleshed out by officials from
the two countries. But even if it is
seen as consisting of tentative proposals, it needs to be warmly
welcomed.... Pakistan's reaction has not
been overly enthusiastic, and it is understandable that it should continue to
feel miffed at India's refusal to hold substantive negotiations on all issues
affecting bilateral relations....
Basically, anything that chips away at the wall of distrust created
during half a century of animosity should be greeted without too much
cavil. Small steps can lead to major
breakthroughs, and India is right, both as the bigger country and as one that
had unilaterally frozen whatever few contacts existed, to take the initiative
in moving forward."
"Insignificant And Frivolous CBMs"
The rightist English-language Pakistan
Observer contended (10/24):
"India continues to play hide and seek tricks to mislead the world community
about Indo-Pakistan relations with a view to deflating the international
pressure for resumption of dialogue between the two nuclear rivals. The new set of the so-called CBMs is as
insignificant as frivolous, since it is devoid of any proposal for resumption
of the Indo-Pak dialogue.... There can’t
be peace in South Asia without the just settlement of the Kashmir dispute,
since it is South Asia’s nuclear flashpoint."