Indian, Pakistani op-eds show signs of softening

December 30, 2008

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.

It was possible, the newspaper said, “that the absence of violence (in Kashmir) was the result of Pakistan’s active cooperation with an Indian request made several months earlier, and that the Mumbai attacks were orchestrated by Pakistan-based terrorists without the involvement of the ISI.”

“According to this narrative, the motive of Mumbai was to disrupt an emerging back-channel understanding between the two countries and increase tension to the point where some of the military pressure being brought to bear on the Taliban and al-Qaeda on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border might be relieved. Whatever the truth, the fact is that Pakistan’s decision to lay off the Assembly elections for its own reasons has been an unexpected bonus for the Indian government. It has created a more favourable terrain for New Delhi to pursue a solution to the Kashmir problem, both in its domestic manifestation and in terms of its bilateral context. Provided, of course, the two countries are able successfully to ride out the present crisis by acting decisively against the terrorists responsible for Mumbai.”

That’s quite a big olive branch coming from the Indian media, matching the talk of collaboration in the Pakistan media. But is the mood shifting enough for the two governments to get their peace process back on track?

History suggests it can go either way.  Fraught relations between India and Pakistan are still vulnerable to a second big militant attack, like the assault on an army camp in 2002 which — coming five months after an attack on the Indian parliament — nearly propelled the two countries into all-out war.  Yet India and Pakistan have also been capable of surprising the outside world with successful back-channel diplomacy, as they did at the end of 2003 when they agreed a ceasefire in divided Kashmir — a ceasefire which has more or less held through the current tensions and which remains the most tangible gain from the post 2001/2002 thaw.


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India wanted to isolate Pakistan diplomaticly but have failed as the Chief of Interpol even admited no evidence from New Delhi have been produced. That is the same line of Pakistan, now at least the Indian have stoped barking like mad dogs.

When Pakistan offered full support to have joint investigation why was it turned down? Simply there were nothing to back the Indian accusation if they had any solid proof India would not hesitate and would have shown to the world and then passed it to Pakistan.

I see some idiots sorry Indians saying the the person in custody admits he is from Pakistan. We all know how South Asian police works they would even make a person who can not speak will even say what the police wants them to say.

India knows she can not do anything against Pakistan and the sense have pervailed in war mongering delhi leaders and eased on the threats. Which were all hollow no substance so to all Indian grow up and look inside urself what you are doing in so many states opressing people free will no wonder there are over 50 sepratist movements in India I wonder why???

Also stop all RAW activaties in Pak and I wonder why do india needs over dozen couslates on the border of afghnistan. I think to destabilise Pakistan but soon we ll have idiots soz indians defending that.

Simply treat others how you would like to trated thanks!

Posted by ali786 | Report as abusive

John Michael McConnell, the United States Director of National Intelligence, in a speech at Harvard University, soon after Mumbai massacre said that the same group responsible for the 2006 Mumbai train bombings was behind Mumbai attack of 2008.

The strategy of Pak army / ISI has stood on one solid single pillar- PLAUSIBLE DENIABILITY. This time in Mumbai they messed up in the execution and have been caught red handed. They had gotten away so many times.

Indians have to really thank Ajmal Amir Kasab and the brave police man belonging to lower cadre of Mumbai police who was responsible for the capture of Mr.Kasab and died in the process.

LET was involved in attacks in New Delhi in October 2005, and in Bangalore in December 2005.

Examples of recent major terror attacks include a coordinated series of bombings in market and temple areas of the tourist city of Jaipur, Rajasthan (May 2008), an attack on a government paramilitary facility in Uttar Pradesh (December 2007), coordinated bomb blasts at court facilities in three cities in Uttar Pradesh (November 2007), an explosives blast in a cinema hall in Punjab (November 2007), two explosions at a popular park and restaurant in Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh (August 2007), an explosion at the main mosque in Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh (May 2007), the detonation of explosive devices on a train northwest of Delhi (February 2007), simultaneous attacks on Mumbai commuter trains (July 2006), simultaneous attacks on a train station and places of worship in Varanasi (March 2006), and simultaneous attacks on several markets in New Delhi (October 2005).

Contrary to some popular rumors, desperately held false hopes among Pakistanis the issue will not go away anytime soon. Mumbai terrorist attack is not an India-Pakistan issue, but an international one. India is going to blow hot and cold with revelations and media releases, to keep it going; and the international community is likely to go along with India and demand action from Pakistan. It will be subjected to diplomatic, economic, strategic pressure until it yields.

Posted by Johnny | Report as abusive

Thank you very much for highlighting above the long list of terror attacks that took place in India and exposing the inefficiency of Indian security forces. I suggest R&AW and Indian security experts come to Islamabad and undergo a training course in security at the ISI headquarters. Surely they need to brush up their expertise if India has to become any safer.
Your Pakistani friend

Posted by Umair | Report as abusive


It cuts both ways. Pakistan publicly showed PR incompetence with a series of contradicting actions and statements. Starting from promising to send the ISI chief then backing out. Then what about the LeT commotion? Why crack down on them then? What’s going on? Then Kasab’s village…why is there now a security presence, after some Pakistani journalists claimed indeed his parents existed and now disappeared? Do you think our ISI has never done anything to India? Lets not fool ourselves. You and I know its an open secret that many ISI operatives had funded militant groups both in Afghanistan and Kashmir and many ranked army soldiers had joined them. India can just accuse us of the same ill intentions of keeping Afghanistan ignorant with the Taliban fanatics, just to make sure India has no diplomatic ties. If RAW has hurt Pakistan, so has the ISI. There are no saints on our sides either. The question is who’s the bigger liar or who’s actually telling the Truth.

After the Lal Masjid debacle infront of the ISI building, and a forum given to banned members of militant organizations on its anniversary, you just have to start questioning everything.

The evidence is against us. See this as an opportunity to root out nut cases before its too late. And before everyone gets shocked of bombings on Shia Muslim processions in Muharram and in a knee jerk reaction blame RAW…its been happening every single year with confirmed reports of extremist Wahabi/Salafi/Deobandi groups accepting credit.

Posted by Saf | Report as abusive

CORRECTION! Sorry Umair, and everyone. Apparently Umair’s name was on my fingertips and I accidentally put his name instead of mine to post my comment. Sorry for any confusion.

Posted by Saf | Report as abusive

As the Pakis continue in their state of denial, pakistan is slowly falling to taliban n_re_as/as_pakistan_valley_of_fear

Myra, Swat is about 100 miles from the capital of pakistan.

Posted by chirkut | Report as abusive

SAF – you havnt still answered my question why does India needs to have over dozen counslates on the border with Pakistan?

To answer your question, why a u-turn on sending the ISI chief well could have been a sincere gesture but when you hear indian all out gun loaded pointing fingers on Pakistan. By sending the chief we are playing into indians hands that yes we are involved.

How about have a joint investigation or let interpol help. If india can go to UN to get a resolution surely can asj UN to investigate.

Anyway Indian inteligence services are not good enough and surely the gesture from Pakistan should have been taken!

Posted by ALI | Report as abusive

Make no mistake buddy, I know you are an Indian posing as a Pakistani. My friend you are as dumb as the planners of Mumbai attacks, the R&AW agents, stop acting like Pakistani and confusing things.
ALI is right, answer his question, why does India needs all those consulates?
SAF!!! I know you are a damn patriotic Indian and so am I, a die hard patriotic Pakistani. Nice try though, an ordinary person cant make it whether you are an Indian posing as a Pakistani.

Posted by Umair | Report as abusive


Posted by Umair | Report as abusive

I have read enough and heard enough the only real issue between these two great countries is “k” yes Kashmir. I do not why as soon as you mention the word Kashmir the indians start running arounf like headless chikens.

Admit it first there is a problem in Kashmir, that is Kashmiri voices are not heard and indian puppet regime installed. Fake election without any international observers will nit legitimise indian rule.

Have all the indian forget the coverage on STARNEWS about all kashmiris in one voice and the whole valley awakned to the noise of “AZADI” “AZADI” “AZADI” it is about time worlds so called biggest democracy lets people of kashmir decided what they want.

In regards to Paksitan, yes there are serious problems but at least half have been ochestered by RAW. Vise versa, problems in india are work of ISI. So both needs to stop medling in each others countries internal affairs.

Have a proper peace process without pre condictions, open mind once the Kashmir problem is solved. The resy of the problems will be ironed out in no time so give peace a chance let the war mongers on both side suffer.

Posted by Magic | Report as abusive

Please note the thread above, I had posted a comment at
5:14 pm GMT
and another blogger “Saf” who is an Indian and posting as Pakistani has commented on it at
5:49 pm GMT.
The comment at 5:14 GMT was originally posted by me, and “Saf” claims he posted it by my name accidentally.
He is trying to confuse things. Please note this activity as this will not help in a healthy discussion and feedback and only create confusions. Such comments should be removed and posters should not be allowed to post. I do not hide my identity and speak out my true opinion. While Saf is using deception.


Posted by Umair | Report as abusive

[…] one positive sign, at least. Reuters notes that newspaper op-eds in India and Pakistan have taken on a softer tone recently, one indication that public anger may be lessening. Pakistan’s Dawn newspaper, in an editorial […]

Posted by India-Pakistan Tensions – The Seminal :: Independent Media and Politics | Report as abusive

‘The absence of interference contradicted a prevailing assumption in India —
— Rather,your selective reference & it coming from an communist mouthpiece like the Hindu, given it’s pro-Pakistan leanings, is more of a confirmation than an assumption…

Posted by Anup | Report as abusive

After going through all the abuse and invective being hurled from one side to another I think its time to get back to the topic – war is in nobody’s interest and if things are cooling down it is in everyones interest. Forget all the bombast and posturing and media driven hysteria, it only effects immature minds as can be seen happening here.

That being said, however, we are still no closer to finding out what is being done about countering terrorism emanating from one country and being directed at others. Unless people get out of denial and start seriously looking for solutions, the pattern will keep repeating to no one’s advantage. Sham bravado and all talk of shedding last drops of blood etc etc nothwithstanding, lets get together and start dismantling the terrorist edifice that has been nourished and nurtured all these years which is now devouring even its own benefactors. That is the real issue that no one hear seems interested in discussing.

Posted by Dara | Report as abusive

@Ali786 & Umair –
Some questions, just out of curiosity –
1) Why did a person in Pakistan say that Ajmal was his son
2) Why did the villagers say that Ajmal had visited the village 4 months ago
3) Why did Geo TV show all this
4) Why did Nawaz Sharif come out saying that Ajmal is a Paki
5) Why is the village now cut off from rest of the world
6) It would be quite easy to prove that Ajmal is not the son of the mentioned person. All you need to do is let an international team collect blood samples of the “family” and the “son” and do a DNA comparison. Why does not Pak do something like this and put at rest all these questions.

Posted by Hima Bindu | Report as abusive

About R&AW training with ISI – seems like a good idea.
Soon Pak as a nation and ISI may cease to exist and India will have to deal with the Taliban menace by itself.

Posted by Hima Bindu | Report as abusive

didn’t someone tell you that coveting thy neighbour’s property is wrong. Or may be it isn’t according to your religion of peace.
Pakistan does not even have full control over it’s own territory, what will you do with Kashmir? Throw it to the Taliban?
Instead of fighting Indians why don’t you do something good for your country.

Posted by Hima Bindu | Report as abusive

It is true that,whence the relationship between India and Pakistan is standing on such dubious and intransparant base-where credibility has lost from either side- can not bring any good for the nation of both countries.Militants are enjoying this fragile relationship between the two countries.I think as being an Indian citizen that “India should stop continuation of such fragile relationship by dusrupting all types of inter-transfer protocol or anykinds of transaction with Pakistan”. Such Severe blockade from Indian side must help in restricting the boosting of militancy.At least,for study,mimum five years such banned from Indian side is necessary utmost.

Posted by PRANAB HAZRA | Report as abusive n/03friedman.html?_r=1

Posted by Vineet | Report as abusive

These Softening signs are all invalid if there is no proper diplomacy .A good diplomat-one like the activist Ansar Burney- can even soothe a crouching tiger..

Ansar Burney,the hero of human Rights, is currently in India and made sure that the 66 or more Pakistani prisoners were released to pakistan in the Attari Border despite the current tensions and bickering as is evident in this blog itself. Mr.Burney is the only one acting with the common sense over the Mumbai Issue it seems. He says “Even if the Indian government provides proof of Kasab’s nationality to Ansar Burney Trust, I will meet him (Kasab) personally to ascertain his identity. What is more, I would not mind making a public admission if he is found to be a Pakistani national,” .Wotta man he is.

He further adds “When Pak media has established Ajmal Kasab’s identity, what is preventing the (Pakistan) government from admitting his nationality?” This makes perfect sense. Pakistan is playing games with India .Perhaps they think their statement of denial is worth to watch Pranab Mukerjee’s blood pressure rising.The world gotta love Pak’s sense of humor with their official position on Kasab..”Could be,” Durrani said when asked if Kasab was a Pakistani citizen. “I am not saying more than that because we don’t have, I hate to say this we don’t have proof.” Every devil in pakistan knows Kasab hails from Faridkot and every bureaucrat will be enjoying their own private joke on how they have managed their lies so far. A politician always finds himself bewildered when the world take his views for granted .As in our case the world quoted Nawaz Sherif and Its completely hilarious how Mr.Sherif can change his statements so fast shamelessly. The world may appreciate the Pakistani sense of humor .Only the Indians aren’t amused..

Posted by mitchell | Report as abusive

People of Pakistan and India need to take a look at their no so distant past to figure out if fighting really makes sense.

Founder of Pakistan Mr. Jinnah used to own a house in Mumbai – Jinnah house as it is known even today. This is the place where plans to create Pakistan were solidified. Although he had to leave the house behind, he was fond of it.

India and Pakistan are two separate countries today, but they have so much in common.

Posted by mumbaikar | Report as abusive

Having red the abusive language used, particularly by the pakistani contributors, I am convinced that there will never be a good relation between India and Pakistan, until the pakistani govt and the ordinary pakistanis change their terrorist/religious convictions. Then Indians should therefore leave them alone, and not worry about them, because like pakistanis, Indians also can belive that their nuclear weapons will work as the deterrent against pakistani aggression.

What Indians needs to do is to elect a true nationalist government, who is not a player of minority vote-bank politics in the next general election. Once in power, this govt should take the following steps:
1). Identify anti-national elements within the country – including publication of crime statistics by religion – and eliminate them by introducing anti-terrorist/treason laws. If members of a particular community is found to be promoting cross-border terrorism bring in corrective steps to integrate that community as a whole.
2). If Muslims in India want to go to Pakistan (in fact it is for them pakistan was created) provide all necessary help to them. This will be a big help to those muslims who want to live in an islamic country.
3). Encourage the scientific community to find an alternative to oil so that some of the oil rich countries will not be in a position to provide financial support to the terrorists groups
4). Strengthen democratic institutions based on values of the majority community (democracy means the ruling by the majority – take example of USA, Malaysia, etc.) – including laws for democratisation of political parties – to ensure that all citizens are protected by these institutions.
5). Keep the armed forces in a combat-ready mode at the pakistani borders (but never in an aggressive manner) to prevent terrorist inflitration. We should not violate pakistani territorial borders.
6). No dealing with Pakistan and pakistanis (including sports / water sharing agreements etc.) until they start respecting human values.
Pakistan also can take similar steps / or all the steps that it think will protect them, without interfering the terrotorial boundaris of India.
I am sure thus we can reduce the tension between these two nations and make the world a better place to live.

Posted by Mahesh Kumar | Report as abusive


I agree with u and would like to say some more things..

India doesnt agree to Pak request of joint investigation as they have a tendency to layoff thier agenda wihtout doing much. What happened to the crackdown after parliament attacks? Those people were taken into custody again.. this is the exact reason we do not want ur help. We just want ur actions, or is pakistan so incompetent that it cannot work on its own?

Todays news has quoted a Pakistani Security Officer as saying that Zarar Shah a top LeT leader has confessed his role in the attack. This is reported by your newspaper, please use google if you do not know your press websites.

Posted by Sam | Report as abusive

The current evidence given by India is enough to prove that the terrorists attacking Mumbai came from and are residents of Pakistan. This does not necessarily mean that they are Government Promoted. Why are Pak. people and Govt. taking this in a wrong way? Geographic situation of the country does not allow the Pak. Govt. to control all activities. Rather than taking any offense , its in the interest of International Peace that they act on these outfits. Any such action should not be treated as Pakistan’s defeat but a honest step for Peace. Terrorism in the end will harm Pak. too

Posted by Subhash | Report as abusive

Indian Govt is passing time. Y in the world any country other than india will take action aginst Let? The ultra incompetent central govt of India has itself not taken any punitive action aginst pakistan.
Trains, Buses are running as usual. Once pakistanis reach India,often they go missing for a long time. It appears that the indian govt after winning election at the urban Delhi has realized that Terrorism issue lacks vote appeal & hence it’s not an issue at all.
The end result is- There will be many many terror attacks this year too & finally, Indians will become immune to ‘Terror’ just as they’ve become immune to ‘Corruption’.

Posted by Minind | Report as abusive

excellent suggestions. I agree with you totally. We should work towards creating a strong India – not only economically, but socially and security-wise as well.

And Kashmiris and other Muslims, if you really want to leave India, you can go to Pakistan – “Your” country. But don’t ask for more land (like Kahsmir).

Posted by Hima Bindu | Report as abusive

When are you going to have “self-determination” for the people living within the current borders of Pakistan?
Jammu Kashmir has had another round of impartial elections whereas the Occupied Kashmir never had elections.

Posted by Victor | Report as abusive

@ umair, ali
I am sure you are as patriotic as i am. And thats a good thing. I honestly think that there is no point proving to each other who did what. I only ask of you to understand that Indians have no contentions on pakistani soil. As far as kashmir is concerned, there is a LOC in place and there are diplomatic avenues to sort the issue. Problem begins when issues like human rights violation in kashmir etc etc are made indo-pak issues. If anything there are domestic issues and on a larger scale international issues. i am an indian and a muslim. i don’t think there is need for pakistan to stand up for me. we are not in an age of khilafat and there is no central islamic government established. you have a president and a prime minister not a khalifa. Don’t bring in religion into political issues.
And i would rather like countries with majority muslim population to grow and advance in the field of science, technology, finance and other fields. if u look at us as muslims, we are a sizeable population and still far behind. it is true our brethren are struggling world over. but the word ‘jihad’ literally means to struggle. our struggle should be against hatred, negativity. its time we realize that we need to get educated, get into research, get nobels, be entrepreneurs. the only rich muslims seem to be the ‘sheikhs’ we have to break that stereotype. i think people on both sides of the LOC deserve the opportunity to do all this too. And if we both indians and pakitanis let them. maybe someday we wouldnt need to resolve the issue, as it would be a non-issue by then.

Posted by ammar | Report as abusive

The ONLY way that things will ever improve between India and Pakistan is if the people of the two countries come close and both countries establish good economic relations. But everytime that begins to happen, an incident occurs and we’re back to hating again – as happened with the Mumbai attacks.

We really need both of our governments to make sincere efforts this time around, otherwise this hatred between the two countries will continue.

And what we really need are more people like the great Ansar Burney! I truelly respect this man for what he is doing and so do many of my Pakistani friends.

Posted by Rajul | Report as abusive

The issue here is Indo-Pak relations, I donot see why India needs Pakistan? Pakistan is not our big trading partner, why should we need people to people contact, my suggestions to my Indian brothers is that instead of wasting time in discussing about how to improve Indo-Pak relation, let us put our efforts in providing security to the country and its people, we have had enough people to people contact, we had bus services, samjhauta express, liberal visa regime to Pakistani artistes, and what they have done to us in return? Pakistan is another neighbour like bangladesh, sri lanka or bhutan, what is so special about indo-pakistan relations except the vote bank politics. first and foremost we must withdraw our ambassadors, close the high commissions, stop visa regime, and put all our energy into strengthening our security and intelligence net work .

Posted by Manish | Report as abusive