India on Friday withdrew its decision to accept Pakistan’s proposal of a meeting between the two foreign ministers in New York on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly next week. Citing “two deeply disturbing developments” — the “brutal killings” of security personnel by Pakistan-based entities and the release of postage stamps glorifying Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani who was killed by Indian security forces in July 2016, India cancelled the scheduled talks, saying “the evil agenda of Pakistan stands exposed” and the “true face” of Imran Khan, the new Prime Minister of Pakistan, has been “revealed to the world”.
Raveesh Kumar, the official spokesperson for the Ministry of External Affairs, said, “Any conversation with Pakistan in such an environment would be meaningless. In view of the changed situation, there will be no meeting between the Foreign Ministers of India and Pakistan in New York.”
After the talks were cancelled, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan expressed his disappointment at the “arrogant” and “negative” response of the Indian government to his call for the resumption of the “peace dialogue”.
Here’s how the Pakistani media reported about the cancellation of talks between the two countries:
“India presented July issue as excuse to cancel talks”
While India came clear on its reasons behind the move, a section of the media in Pakistan accused its Indian counterpart of raising an issue which took place in July. “Although the stamps (of Burhan Wani) were issued on July 24, a day before the general elections were held, the issue was raised by Indian media in the last 24 hours,” Dawn, one of Pakistan’s leading newspapers, alleged following the announcement.
Interestingly, the statement was reiterated by Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi who said “India presented an issue which had taken place in July as an excuse to cancel talks”, GEO News reported.
“Nothing short of a Bollywood script or Star Plus drama”
A Dawn news TV anchor termed India’s decision as nothing less than a “Star Plus drama”. “I am not going to fault the Pakistan government for reaching out to the Indian government, that is fairly standard for any new government. However, the language used in the Indian cancellation is nothing short of a Bollywood script or a Star Plus drama,” Zarrar Khurho was quoted as saying by the website.
Khurho added, “It is an accurate assessment that with the election coming up the Indian government would not have reached out to Pakistan as they are catering to a local audience that they themselves have radicalised. In general, I don’t think the relationship between Pakistan and India would normalise anywhere in the near future. This cancellation just goes to show that sides have been picked in the region and the upcoming Indian election will only escalate this situation and there may even be some military adventures closer to that time.”
“Trust deficit between Islamabad, New Delhi growing”
The Express Tribune, on the other hand, cited India’s growing connection with the US and Pakistan’s closeness with China as the reason behind the differences between the two neighbouring countries. “The recent geo-strategic environment has also complicated their already troubled relationship. With India’s growing tilt towards the US and Pakistan’s closeness with China, the trust deficit between Islamabad and New Delhi is also growing. Observers are sceptical if the two countries will be able to resume full spectrum of dialogue given the parliamentary elections in India next year,” a report in the Express Tribune said.
Twitterati slam India
The Express Tribune also filed a story on how Twitterati defended PM Khan and slammed India’s decision to call off the talks. “Twitter users were left with mixed feelings as the news broke with some stating that India’s escape from the talks wasn’t beneficial for the two countries, and others condemning the killings. Some defended Prime Minister Imran Khan for his invitation for dialogue,” the news agency said while listing out a few reactions.