Making peace is not easy, as Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is finding out the hard way. Two days after he and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani of Pakistan issued a joint statement saying both countries would cooperate to fight terrorism, Singh is beginning to discover that Gilani’s interpretation of the words of that statement may differ from his.
In his first press conference in Islamabad on Saturday on his return from the summit, Gilani said the joint statement “underlines our concerns over India’s interference in Balochistan and other areas of Pakistan”.
The statement has been attacked by Opposition parties and commentators in India for Singh hastily agreeing to its reference to Balochistan. It had put on record that “Gilani had mentioned that Pakistan has some information on threats in Balochistan and other areas”.
During his interaction with journalists in Pakistan, Gilani accepted congratulations for “showing courage” at the talks with Singh and getting Balochistan onto the table.
Asked when Pakistan will give proof to India about its “interference” in Balochistan, he said “when talks take place, it will be handed over. Right now we are talking about talks”.
Singh, who is facing criticism for allowing reference to Balochistan in the statement, has held that the document only recorded the fact that Gilani had raised the issue. India had not accepted the charge.
New Delhi’s stand is that the troubles in Balochistan are an internal problem of Pakistan. Baloch nationalists have for many years campaigned for greater autonomy and control of local resources, while rebel groups there have been fighting for outright independence.