A visit to areas along the Line of Control arranged for journalists by the Pakistan Army dominated the front pages of newspapers in that country on Sunday, with military officials saying there was “no evidence” of India’s surgical strikes.
The Urdu Daily Jang, the country’s largest circulated newspaper, led with the headline “India’s drama exposed”, while the headline of another paper, the right-wing Daily Ummat, screamed “Bharat’s lies and falsehoods exposed”.
English newspapers too led with the same story. The Express Tribune headlined its report, “Journalists flown to debunk Indian myth”.
Journalists were shown different points at the LoC and given a briefing by the Inter-Services Public Relations, after which many reported that they were satisfied, based on their interviews with local residents and military officials, that no surgical strikes had taken place as claimed by India.
Other commentators focussed on the larger picture. In his column on Sunday in the influential Dawn newspaper, human rights defender IA Rehman wrote that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has perhaps done all that he could to draw the international community’s attention to the Kashmiri people’s ordeal.
Sharif and members of his large entourage spoke of the situation in Kashmir to whoever they met in New York on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly. By all accounts offered by Pakistan’s media, the Kashmir mission, carried out with unusual vigour, went off well — this despite a slight slip while drafting the press release on the meeting with US secretary of State John Kerry, and the attempt by Pakistan’s enemies to sabotage its efforts by attacking the Indian military camp at Uri, Rehman wrote.
Rehman added, however, “But was the world listening?” He said the question is unavoidable in view of, among other things, the world community’s decision some years ago to delete the Kashmir issue from the list of its concerns. The article was extensively shared online.
The other statement which did well on Pakistani social media circles was one by British Indian sculptor Sir Anish Kapoor, who said India is “ruled by a Hindu Taliban” in a comment piece for a British newspaper. This was shared by many social media users in Pakistan.
Another story that did the rounds on social media and was highlighted by TV news channels was a report about China blocking a tributary of the Brahmaputra river as part of a major hydroelectric project, whose construction began in 2014. Some highlighted this move by China as a response to Indian threats to Pakistan.
Former military ruler Pervez Musharraf’s statement on Saturday - in which he said that India is only good at hurling threats but if the Pakistani military decides to act on them, the response will assume a far more practical form - was also reported in the Pakistani media. Some social media commentators insisted that Musharraf should desist from offering his opinions on such sensitive issues.