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Pakistan media urges neighbours to keep talking

The media in Pakistan is unanimous in urging New Delhi and Islamabad to continue with the dialogue.

world Updated:

Divided on who to blame for last Sunday's terror attack on Samjhauta Express that killed nearly 70 people, sections of Pakistani media on Wednesday were unanimous in urging the governments of the two South Asian neighbours to keep talking.

Noting that a Lahore-bound bus left New Delhi within 36 hours of the burning down of two Samjhauta rail bogeys, The News said that this was "an almost immediate proof" that the terror attack would not derail the Pakistan-India peace process.

<b1>It was a reminder of how the first Srinagar-Muzaffarabad bus rolled out on April 7, 2005, "bang on schedule", despite serious arson at the city's bus station the previous night.

"A refreshing aspect of the aftermath of the first train atrocity of the kind after the madness of 1947," The News editorial noted, "is that there is no bilateral recrimination - at least not until the time of this writing."

"Both Pakistan and India took measures, and really effective ones, to help the survivors and relatives of the dead and injured," it noted.

The Nation spoke up for a family that missed the train and got stranded at New Delhi Railway Station and for those who have survived, but have lost their travel and identity documents, hoping that the Indian authorities would not harass them.

It derided the Indian authorities for "the sort of chutzpah only bureaucrats could achieve," adding "They cannot even go to a police station in Delhi since they don't have a permit for the city; silly security protocols followed by a government which wasn't too keen on following them when the train was being boarded."

It feared that surviving passengers whose passport and documents were lost in the fire could be "the next likely victims of the Indian regulation books."

Most newspapers blamed Indian 'system' and the weak security arrangements which include the sealing of doors and windows on the train.

Accepting that this was a security measure adopted the world over, the Daily Times observed: "it is probably not wise to seal trains in South Asia where people may need to evacuate to save their lives in short order."

While most newspapers took exception to India blaming Pakistan-based terror outfits, the Daily Times argued that just because a majority of those killed were Muslims and Pakistanis, was no indication or proof that Islamist terrorists may not have been behind the attack.

"On the contrary, in fact, on recent record, one is almost reluctant to accuse anyone but Muslim terrorists for this act," the paper said in its editorial entitled "Who could have blown up the Samjhauta Express?"

Dwelling on the Indo-Pak blame-game after each terror attack, the Daily Times said: "...we used to accuse India whenever there was an explosion on our side, until, of course, our noses were rubbed in the evidence that it was our own jihadis who were doing it."

But there was a difference in how the world community perceives this blame-game, the editorial said, "If India has a knee-jerk response, the world doesn't laugh at it as much as it does when we accuse India, simply because Pakistani Islamist-jihadis like Omar Sheikh and his friends were actually caught doing mischief in India and were sprung from an Indian jail through a hijacking."

The newspaper said the rail attack could have been the handiwork of "someone who hates General Musharraf more than he loves fellow Muslims," going by the opposition the Pakistan President has invited because of his willingness to talk of the Kashmir issue and his policies against the jihadi elements.

It took to task the Jamaat-i-Islami's lawmaker Shabab Milli for staging a protest in Lahore accusing the Indians of having done the deed.

"But responsible MNAs (Members of National Assembly) who seemed to jump the gun on the incident should have acted with more restraint."