Pakistani press all praise for Indian Premier


LAHORE: Despite facing sharp criticism by the opposition parties in India for conceding the alleged Indian involvement in terrorist activities being carried out on the Pakistani soil, the Indian Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh has been commended, quite unexpectedly, by the Pakistani print media for his efforts to bring peace and stability in the region.

While Pakistan’s leading English daily Dawn has praised Manmohan Singh for his Wednesday speech on the floor of the Lok Sabha, describing it as a delicate balancing act, another English paper, daily Times has termed him a paradigmatic leader after Jawaharlal Nehru. Both the Pakistani newspapers have spoken high of Dr Manmohan Singh’s political stature while defending his Pakistan policy during his address in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday.

The July 31 daily Dawn editorial titled “PM Singh explains” stated: “Mr Singh has been accused by the Indian opposition parties of needlessly muddying the waters by allowing a reference to Balochistan in the joint statement. However, he rightly decided to take on his critics and argued that the joint statement reflected his opinion that Pakistan, in the absence of the composite dialogue, should not claim that it cannot take action against transnational terrorist groups simply because the dialogue is on hold”.

The Dawn editorial added: “The Indian premier’s explanation has appeared to mollify his critics and following a strong statement of support from his party boss Sonia Gandhi, he can be expected to ride out the storm. So have Manmohan’s critics won and forced him to back away from what appeared to be an attempt to improve ties with Pakistan? Not necessarily. Indeed, Mr Singh emphasised that ‘dialogue and engagement is the best way forward’ and spoke appreciatively of the frank details provided by Pakistan in the latest dossier on the Mumbai attacks. Parsing the prime minister’s speech, then, it seems that he is still holding out one hand to Pakistan while trying to fend off his domestic detractors with the other”.

Similarly, the July 31 Daily Times editorial titled “Singh’s statesmanship” has commended Dr Manmohan, saying that he has proved his political stature once again while defending his Pakistan policy as a policy that had been described by the opposition as capitulation to an enemy who had allowed its territory to be used for terrorist attacks in Mumbai in 2008. He firmly stood by the joint statement he had issued at Sharm al-Sheikh together with Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani, including a reference in it to Balochistan”.

The editorial then states: “Despite platitudes about Mr Singh being a weak prime minister, he has proved once again that he is indeed the paradigmatic leader after Jawaharlal Nehru. India owes its new stature in the world to him after he changed the Nehruvian model of the economy in 1991 as finance minister. If the leaderships of both the countries agree with Dr. Singh’s views, then he is surely going to change the Indo-Pak strategic equations”.

The editorial said that the efforts of Dr. Singh should be applauded and leaders, who are criticizing his move, should lend him support for the larger interest of people of both countries. “The Cold Warriors in India should take heed from what Mr Manmohan Singh has said. Indeed, the brave statesmanlike initiatives of the Pakistani and Indian leaders should be applauded,” the Daily Times editorial concluded.

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