Islamabad, Sep 15 — Only if the stakeholders in Pakistan’s government and the military agree that the “existential threat” to the country does not lie in India but in the terrorism within, the India-Pakistan dialogue process will succeed, a leading Pakistani daily has said.
The Daily Times in its editorial Sunday said if Pakistan’s Army chief, General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani’s “formulation that the existential threat to Pakistan currently does not lie to the east but stems from the terrorist threat within is taken at face value, it would lead to the conclusion that the military understands the need for peace with India while Pakistan handles its terrorist problem”.
Pakistan’s civilian government and the army have to understand this to allow the dialogue process with India to succeed, the newspaper said.
“Only if the civilian and military stakeholders are in agreement on this as the way forward and the best direction to safeguard Pakistan’s best interests, can the dialogue and peace process have any chance of success,” it said.
“Pakistan’s argument that domestic political considerations such as elections, etc., and odd incidents like the LoC exchange should not be allowed to hold hostage or derail the dialogue and peace process cuts to the heart of the role of spoilers,” it added.
The editorial also said that jehadi groups were behind the attack near the Line of Control (LoC) that killed five Indian soldiers.
“In any peace process, let alone one so fraught and long standing as the Pakistan-India conundrum, ‘spoilers’ are forces with a vested interest in continuing conflict. In the Pakistan-India context, this includes various jehadi groups engaged in the Kashmiri struggle,” it said.
“Most knowledgeable observers are of the view that the raid across the LoC that killed five Indian soldiers and sparked off a brief but intense exchange of firing across the boundary may be attributed to such a group,” the editorial said.
According to the Daily Times, the meeting between India’s Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid and Pakistan Prime Minister’s adviser on foreign affairs and national security Sartaj Aziz on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, Friday “yielded some positive signs and statements”.
The two leaders had discussed the possibility of a meeting between Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly meeting in New York later this month.
“Let us hope that the good atmospherics in Bishkek are carried forward to New York and the long delayed and derailed dialogue process is helped to get back on track in the interests of both neighbours, with the concomitant collateral benefit to the region and the world in terms of positing trade and economic cooperation,” the editorial said.