More than Kashmir...

A leading daily criticises Musharraf's regime for insisting on discussing Kashmir at the cost of problems that touch the lives of people in India and Pakistan.

india Updated: Jan 15, 2007 17:51 IST

The people of Pakistan, suffering because relations with India cannot be normalised, "are not going to revolt against the state if the state cannot win Kashmir for them", an influential Pakistani newspaper said on Monday.

The Daily Times criticised the Pervez Musharraf regime for insisting on discussing Kashmir and other "outstanding issues" at the cost of problems that touch the lives of the people on sides of the India-Pakistan border.

"The path to follow is to normalise the bilateral relationship unconditionally to such an extent that hostile rhetoric dies down and can no longer be exploited politically," the newspaper said in its editorial.

Terming the posturing on each issue by the two governments as "usual Kabuki", the newspaper said: "We should pursue resolution of the outstanding disputes, meanwhile allowing the populations of both countries to taste the fruits of peaceful coexistence."

Ridiculing the oft-repeated call by Musharraf for "out of the box" thinking, the editorial said: "Islamabad's 'out of the box' thinking isn't as 'out-of-the-box' as it would have us believe.

Pakistanis who suffer because of the deadlock of normal relations between the two countries are no longer threatening to revolt against the state if the state cannot win Kashmir for them."

The hard-hitting editorial also criticised Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz for "employing the most worn out 'Kashmir-first' platitude that the nation has heard in the past half century".

It also wondered why Foreign Minister Khurshid Mahmood Kasuri was insisting on resolving long-pending issues like reducing military presence in Siachen "within days" even after his Indian counterpart Pranab Mukherjee made the Indian standpoint clear.

Criticising the bureaucracy's role, the newspaper said: "The bitter truth is that the people in Pakistan have lost interest in getting India to cough up Kashmir and get down from Siachen (after the Kargil operation) while the 'smaller' problems, like not being issued visas easily and not being tortured inhumanely in Indian jails which matter to them, don't interest the bureaucracy in Islamabad."

First Published: Jan 15, 2007 17:47 IST