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Damage limitation should be Pakistan, India’s goal: daily

Himalayan Paths

Islamabad, July 17 (IANS) The goal of Pakistan and India needs to be damage limitation, said a leading daily which noted that “when the politicians find some common ground, the respective security establishments find a way to throw a spanner in the works”.

An editorial “Square one, again?”, which appeared in the Dawn on Friday, rued that barely days, or perhaps just hours, after the Ufa meeting, Pakistan and India are “back at it again”.

“Tensions along the Working Boundary have flared once more and once again there have been deaths and near-risible claims of spying. Had the stakes not been so high and the possible repercussions so dangerous, it would be worthy of a bad action movie,” the daily said.

The editorial said that “unhappily, this is the state of India-Pakistan relations: when the politicians find some common ground, the respective security establishments find a way to throw a spanner in the works”.

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had held bilateral talks with his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi at Ufa in Russia on July 11.

“Post-Ufa, there was already a great deal of pressure on the PML-N government. Most, perhaps all, of that pressure centred on the non-inclusion of Kashmir in the joint statement.

“Inside Pakistan, the ire of the mainstream opposition and religious right was unmistakable: how could a political government refer generically to all issues, but specifically refer to terrorism and the Mumbai attacks, without including an unambiguous reference to the Kashmir dispute?”

It went on to say that “sadly in the India-Pakistan context, the first goal of the two governments needs to be damage limitation”.

“Part of the problem with the Ufa joint statement was the lack of mention of specific dates. The DG Rangers and DG BSF meeting should have had a specific date mentioned in the joint statement. Equally important, regular meetings between the respective DGMOs of Pakistan and India should have been determined in Ufa”.

The daily observed that neither of the two prime ministers who met in Ufa “appear to have prepared for the obvious or had any plan for dealing with the inevitable pushback by hawks in the two countries”.

“If there is a silver lining – and in the India-Pakistan context that often amounts to clutching at straws – it is the signal that neither India nor Pakistan wants a further escalation along the Working Boundary or the LoC,” it added.

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