An inexplicable last-minute switch in the schedule of External Affairs Minister SM Krishna on Thursday afternoon gives a clue to how the script went wrong in the Indo-Pak talks in Islamabad.
Krishna and his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mahmood Qureshi were said to have made good progress during their first session of talks which started at 11 am and lasted for nearly five hours, well beyond the schedule. The two also had a working lunch.
Krishna's schedule was to leave at 3.20 pm and to reach Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani's office to meet him at 3.30 pm. The call on President Asif Ali Zardari was to follow at 5.30 pm at the Presidential palace.
Just 15 minutes prior to his departure, Krishna was informed that the order has been reversed and the call on Zardari will precede.
In the time slot Krishna was to meet Gilani, Pakistan's powerful army Chief Ashfaq Pervez Kayani met the Prime Minister. Kayani had also met Zardari.
According to the official release issued after Kayani's meetings with Pakistan's political leadership, the army chief discussed the security situation in the country and operational matters of the army.
However, when the talks resumed after Krishna's two call-ons, the atmosphere totally changed and Pakistan took an unexpectedly stringent posture leading to the deadlock at the talks.
Many commentators in India feel that it was Pakistani army which put spokes in the way of progress between India and Pakistan.