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The blame game

india Updated: Jul 13, 2006 16:48 IST

Insisting that India was "unnecessarily dragging in" Pakistan into the Mumbai serial blasts, the Pakistani media generally agreed that the scheduled July 20 talks on the composite dialogue may be jeopardised and the incident may slow down the progress of the peace process.

The News said in a front-page report that even before the investigations into the Mumbai blasts were completed, "Pakistan is being forcibly dragged into the train disaster."

"It is now very clear from the reaction from New Delhi that the composite dialogue is now likely to be derailed as they found a scapegoat in (Pakistan Foreign Minister Khurshid Mehmood) Kasuri's statement, which was "merely a press report which Pakistan says was not really what the foreign minister really said."

"Kashmir is not a new issue for either of the two countries and even if one gave the benefit of doubt to Kasuri, he certainly did not say anything new," the newspaper said, adding: "But New Delhi has a problem with the timing of the statement."

"...it appears that for internal consumption at least, the focus of a huge intelligence lapse is now being directed at Islamabad," the newspaper held forth.

In an editorial, entitled "Terrible Tuesday", the newspaper at one stage praised as "laudable" the "restraint" shown by the Indian leadership, but criticised "sections of the government" and 'hawks' for blaming Pakistan.

"Regrettably, large sections of the Indian media tend to be more hawkish than South Block itself and are often quick to see Pakistan behind everything horrible that happens in India.

This does not help, not least because an investigation into Mumbai's blasts is currently under way, and especially when a peace dialogue is under way between the two countries," the editorial observed.

The Pakistan foreign office had termed the Indian reaction "baseless" and said Kasuri had been "misreported" by the international news agency that quoted him as linking the Mumbai serial blasts to the need for resolving the "disputes" between the two countries.

"At no stage during the interview did the foreign minister talk about a connection between Mumbai terrorist attack and the Jammu and Kashmir dispute," the foreign office statement said.

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