Pakistanis have reacted favorably to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s statement in Parliament on building relations between the two countries.
They have, however, shown reservation regarding US envoy Richard Holbrooke’s comment that Pakistan did not give any credible evidence to support its claim of India’s involvement in Balochistan.
Writing in Daily Dawn, retired ambassador Tareq Fatemi said that while the Pakistani leadership touted the Sharm el-Sheikh meeting and exchanges as a diplomatic success, the Indian leadership remained engulfed in a controversy that had exposed schisms within the Congress party.
He explains that the shift in India’s attitude was due to rethinking on its part over its role as a global leader. “Its ambition to be a global player cannot become a reality until it resolves its differences with Pakistan," he wrote.
But there are many who do not agree with Fatemi.
Academician Shamim Akhtar commented that the Indian leadership may have made all the right noises, “but the ground reality remains the same.”
He added that the statements made by Ambassador Holbrooke made it clear "that pressure is being applied to Pakistan to deliver on the anti-terrorism front.”
Akhtar said the policy has had results. He pointed out the leaked stories in the local media, which revealed the dossier that Pakistan handed to India and later the revelation that the arrested LeT militants had confessed their involvement in the Mumbai terror attacks.
Holbrooke, US Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, had said Pakistani leaders had brought up the issue of India’s alleged involvement in Balochistan during his last week’s visit to the country, but did not give any credible evidence to support their claim.
“I would be misleading, if I said it didn’t come up,” Holbrooke told State Department Press Corps. Asked if Pakistan has provided him with any “credible evidence of India's involvement in Balochistan”, he said: “The narrow answer to your question is no.”
Political commentator Shamim-ur-Rehman, who has written extensively on Balochistan said he was not surprised by the statement.
“It is too early for America to get involved in this,”he said.
However, Baloch nationalist leaders said Holbrooke’s statement did not surprise them. “The Pakistan government is trying to hide its own faults and mis-governance by raising the issue of Indian involvement. There is no such thing. This is a struggle for the rights of the Baloch people,” said Dr Hayee Baloch, a prominent figure in Balochistan politics.
Other Baloch leaders also echoed similar sentiments.