Will surprise India visit by Sharif help talks: Daily

Islamabad, Feb 1 (IANS) The possibility of Pakistan-India talks being held in the first week of February now seems to be mostly unrealistic, a leading daily said on Monday, wondering: “Will it take a surprise visit to India by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to get the talks back on track?”

An editorial, “Dialogue with India”, in The News International said if talks between India and Pakistan are delayed, there is no saying when they will restart.

This was seen last summer too after high-level talks between the National Security Advisers of both countries were called off at the last minute.

“It took a rather unorthodox visit to Lahore by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to set a talks timeline once again. This was, as we know, disrupted by the Pathankot attack, which Indian officials blame on elements based in Pakistan,” said the daily.

Pakistan launched a “mini-crackdown on the Jaish-e-Muhammad and asked to join the investigation of the Pathankot attack. The hope was that these measures would result in confidence building and allow the talks to be restarted on an immediate basis”.

The daily said that while talks are ongoing with India for convening a meeting of foreign secretaries to start what is being called a ‘Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue’, it seems the tendency is to rather play to the gallery instead.

“The possibility of talks being held in the first week of February now seems to be mostly unrealistic.”

It went on to say that one must hope the delay is not going to be as long as we have seen in the past.

Noting that Pakistan has suffered more than India in the war on terrorism, the editorial said that while our priorities may not have always been in the right direction, there have been serious attempts at building regional cooperation on the issue of terrorism over the past years.

“Blaming each other will only lead to a failure of this budding cooperation and, in the long run, strengthen the hands of terrorists who prey on the mistrust India, Pakistan and Afghanistan have of each other.”

The daily wondered: “Will it take a surprise visit to India by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to get the talks back on track?”

“This past Saturday, PM Nawaz promised that Pakistan would soon complete its investigation into the Pathankot attack. This would go a long way towards reviving talks between the two countries.”

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