PAKISTAN: Brickbats for Manmohan in Pak media over terror

Newspaper editorials criticize India's prime minister of pandering, rather than of raising awareness, when he said terrorist groups in Pakistan are planning to attack India

The Times of India
Thursday, August 20, 2009

New Delhi --- Jaswant Singh is getting bouquets. But Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is receiving brickbats from the Pak press after his Monday remark about having credible information that terrorist groups from across the border are planning fresh attacks in India.

"Whatever the truth behind the allegations, it is regrettable that Mr Singh chose to air his concerns publicly rather than take up the matter with Pakistani authorities in private," the Dawn wrote in its editorial on Wednesday.

"Other than pandering to a domestic lobby that is increasingly hawkish on Pakistan, it is difficult to see what purpose Mr Singh's remarks serve. If there is indeed a threat -- and it is unrealistic to believe that there is absolutely no possibility of attacks on Indian soil -- then the primary aim of the Indian authorities should be to thwart it. That translates into meaningful cooperation with Pakistan, not sensational claims at high-profile events. And if the Indian security establishment needed to be informed, which the chief ministers undoubtedly do, then there are other channels of communication open to the Indian prime minister," the newspaper said.

Similarly, in its editorial headlined, 'India's imagined fear', The Nation said that "the Indian Prime Minister's alarming statement that a terrorist group in Pakistan was planning an attack in India would at best be taken as an example of imagined fear or an attempt at keeping Pakistan under pressure unless it shares with it the 'credible information' he has to support the contention. That would make it possible for Pakistan to trace the militants and scuttle their designs."

"Dr Manmohan Singh and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani had agreed when they met at Sharm El Sheikh last month to exchange such intelligence, and issued a joint statement to that effect. Its relevant portion reads, "The two countries will share real time, credible and actionable information on any future terrorist threats." Thus, one would have expected the Indian Prime Minister to pass the intelligence on to Islamabad through diplomatic sources rather than make the scary announcement at a conference on national security attended by chief ministers."

The Frontier Post was even more hawkish in its editorial headlined, Manmohan's slyness. "If he is for real, wouldn't Manmohan Singh, India's prime minister, know that solemn pledges as the ones he made with his Pakistani counterpart Yousaf Raza Gilani at Sharm El Sheikh are meant to be carried out, not to be fiddled with?," the editorial said.

The newspaper goes on to say, "Islamabad hierarchy shouldn't get swayed by Manmohan's genteel exterior. Inside, he is a sly man, the one who sanctioned the establishment of a rapid deployment Indian command for cold start invasion of Pakistan that not even Hindu nationalists of BJP had allowed despite their military establishment's intense pressure. He even toyed with attacking Pakistan after the Mumbai terrorism but was held back as the India army said it was not fighting-fit for such action, although the navy and air force showed some reluctant readiness."