Pak media hails outcome of Krishna’s visit

Islamabad: India and Pakistan signalled a desire beyond the rancour of the past by inking a pact for a liberalised visa regime though several core issues of both countries had not been addressed by the peace process that resumed last year, the Pakistani media said today.

Most dailies uniformly described the signing of the new visa agreement yesterday by External Affairs Minister S M Krishna and Interior Minister Rehman Malik as a significant achievement, especially as the pact is aimed at easing decades-old restrictions on travel by senior citizens, tourists, pilgrims and businessmen.

“Pakistan, India to de-link future from the bitter past,” read the banner headline in the liberal The Express Tribune while even the right-wing The Nation, usually a fierce critic of India, headlined its report: “Pakistan, India walk the talk.”

Photographs of Krishna smiling and shaking hands with Malik and Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar featured in most newspapers, reflecting the cordial nature of their interactions.

The influential Dawn newspaper, however, contended that the core issues of both countries had not been properly dealt with by the dialogue process that resumed last year after a two-year gap in the wake of the 2008 Mumbai attacks.

In a report headlined “Pak, India shy away from core issues”, the daily said that despite the bonhomie exhibited by both countries yesterday, “it was more than apparent that both sides were dissatisfied for their set of core issues not having been addressed adequately over the past two years”.

The News daily, in its front page report, said that though there were “no high expectations” and “no forward movement on contentious issues”, the two countries had agreed on the need to “effectively address these issues by finding mutually acceptable solutions”.