Mohali ‘summit’ a modest diplomatic gain: Pakistani daily


Islamabad : Describing the meeting between Yousuf Raza Gilani and Manmohan Singh as a “modest diplomatic gain”, a leading Pakistani daily noted Thursday that it is “a clear indication of the two prime ministers’ resolve to pursue the peace process despite the hurdles”.

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Gilani and Manmohan Singh met at Mohali where the World Cup semifinal match was played between India and Pakistan. India thrashed Pakistan by 29 runs, paving its way to play in the finals against Sri Lanka at Mumbai Saturday.

An editorial in the Dawn – titled “Mohali summit” – Thursday said: “That the two prime ministers met at Mohali Wednesday in an environment enlivened by what by any standards was a carnival is itself an achievement.

“Their second meeting since February in Thimphu, this get-together should serve to help revive the ‘composite dialogue’ so rudely shattered by the Mumbai episode.” The Mumbai terror attack in November 2008 left 166 people dead.

Commenting on the meeting, it said: “…we can detect a modest diplomatic gain: an invitation was sent by India, and Pakistan accepted it, the grace being mutual. This should be a matter of satisfaction seen against the background of the mistrust that has characterised India-Pakistan ties for six decades.”

“More significantly, the Mohali meeting is a clear indication of the two prime ministers’ resolve to pursue the peace process despite the hurdles in the way, not the least of which is the opposition from the hawks in Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s cabinet to a soft line towards Pakistan, and his weakened position because of the corruption scandals now rocking Indian politics.”

India’s Home Secretary G.K. Pillai and his Pakistani counterpart Qamar Zaman met in New Delhi earlier this week and the two sides issued a joint statement in which they said the teams from the two countries would visit each other and take forward the process of bringing the perpetrators of the Mumbai attacks to justice.

The editorial went on to say that Gilani’s visit to Mohali and the interior secretaries’ “work constitute a step forward, especially because the joint statement makes it clear that both Islamabad and New Delhi regard terrorism as a common enemy”.

“There is still a long way to go, however. The deep mistrust remains, and may not go away unless the two sides also agree on the definition of terrorism.”