After a month of hurling insults across the border over the Mumbai attacks, newspaper editorials in both India and Pakistan are softening their rhetoric and asking -- still quietly and tentatively for now -- whether the two countries might perhaps be able to sort it out.
Pakistan's Dawn newspaper, in an editorial headlined "War hysteria abating on both sides" welcomes a report that India is not setting a timeframe for Pakistan to act against the groups it blamed for the Mumbai attacks. "There is always a risk of exaggerating the prospects of peace breaking out between India and Pakistan, just as there is that irrepressible tendency to overplay the fear of war lurking round the corner," it says. But it adds: "At the moment all the pointers from New Delhi raise hope. Or, shall we say, they don’t look bleak?"
The Daily Times goes further, arguing that with the threat of war receding, Pakistan must act against anyone launching militant attacks outside its borders and collaborate actively with India to pursue anyone found to be involved in Mumbai.
"The world wants us to do what we know we have to do to survive as a country. We have to take in hand the war against the foreign and local terrorists and in doing so we have to eliminate those who strike across our borders and endanger the security of our neighbours in the region," it says. "There is no doubt that we have to collaborate with India and earnestly pursue the punishment of anyone found to be involved in the Mumbai attack. The international community that has pressured India to back off today will be relentless in its insistence that we do what we have pledged to do."
Perhaps the most interesting op-ed comes from India, where The Hindu asks why the Pakistani security establishment made no effort to disrupt elections just held for the state assembly in Jammu and Kashmir. (The polls had a turnout of more than 60 percent, despite a boycott call by separatists.) The absence of interference contradicted a prevailing assumption in India -- although not one articulated officially by the government -- that Pakistan's ISI spy agency and its powerful military had been involved in the Mumbai attacks, it said.