Pak media criticises Govt for putting 'K' issue on backburner
4 January 2004
The Hindustan Times
Press Trust of India
Islamabad: Even as SAARC leaders celebrate landmark agreements over free trade and terrorism, the focus of the Pakistani media remains on Kashmir, with several dailies saying that India has succeeded in putting the issue on the backburner.'The ego has landed' read the headline on the front-page column in the local daily The Nation, while referring to Prime Minister AB Vajpayee's arrival after the five-year tumultuous relationship between India and Pakistan, which saw many ups, and down.Sounding highly critical of Pakistan for 'conceding too much' to facilitate Vajpayee's visit Pakistan for the SAARC summit, it said 'India, by sending Vajpayee and agreeing to attend the Summit has certainly gained a lot.'The SAARC being a multilateral organisation restricts member countries from raising bilateral issues 'to India's delight.' Thus trade, tourism, cultural ties and people to people contacts are focus of the discussions, and Kashmir, which is the 'core issue of Pakistan is on the backburner', the newspaper said taking a hardline view against India.'In fact Pakistan's foreign policy makers are groping for a better reason to celebrate the arrival of Vajpayee, who so far is in no mood to hold meaningful bilateral dialogue with Pakistan. The price India extracted from Pakistan to attend the SAARC summit is huge', The Nation said while expressing fears that the Kashmir issue would be put in a cold storage.'In return, New Delhi has made Islamabad to announce a ceasefire on Siachen and LoC and restore air, rail and road links. This is in addition to agreement on terrorism control and pledge to launch efforts for poverty control', it said.The newspaper editorial in the same mode took a dim view of the agreements reached on the South Asian Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA) and an additional protocol on terrorism.Referring to the Friday attack by militants on Jammu railway station in which four Indian security personnel were killed, it said the attack was a 'grim reminder' that peace cannot be restored between the two countries without solving Kashmir issue.