Just a day after he shook hands with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Pakistan premier Nawaz Sharif is facing heat in his home turf. The tone of the coverage on many news channels shifted from positive to negative, with many anchors questioning the timing of the press conference by the Indian foreign secretary in which Islamabad was taken to task for its record on terrorism. “The press conference was held on the same day as the two PMs met, it could have been held later,” commented Zafar Hilaly, a foreign policy analyst.
“Went to congratulate and came back with a show-cause,” declared The Express Tribune, a national English language daily, which was one of many publications that insinuated that the Pakistan PM was embarrassed on Indian soil despite his bold decision to go to Delhi.
Most news channels which had shown live coverage of Sharif’s trip to India, jumped on the bandwagon and started to report on how the Indian media was interpreting their foreign secretary’s press conference and how this was embarrassing for Sharif. Foreign secretary Sujatha Singh had emphasised that terrorism was discussed and that India asked for a speedy trial of the 26/11 accused.
A number of leading politicians such as PML-Q leader Chaudhry Shujaat, the Tehreek-e-Insaf leader Imran Khan also criticised Sharif for the trip and the supposed plight he had suffered. The two news channels that played up this coverage were ARY News and Express News, both of which are at loggerheads with the Sharif government over its handling of the move to close down the Geo News channel.
The Pak PM is also facing criticism for not raise raising the Kashmir issue “even once” and did not mention the country’s stance of the water dispute with India.
But not all were critical. Daily Dawn stated in an editorial that despite the meeting of the two PM’s, India’s own diplomats chose to take a tough line in public and it became clear “just how difficult it would be to bridge the gap between’s India’s almost exclusive focus on terrorism and Pakistan’s wanting to expand talks…”