Pakistan should invite Manmohan Singh for a visit: daily

Islamabad, Jan 5: Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif should invite Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to make an official trip to Pakistan given Manmohan Singh’s desire to visit the country, a Pakistani newspaper said Sunday.

“After a period of months in which ties between the two countries have taken a nosedive, thanks to competing allegations of incursions across the Line of Control (LoC), (Manmohan) Singh expressed a desire to visit Pakistan before he leaves office this year,” said an editorial in the News International.

“For his part, Nawaz, since his ascension to power, has been a vocal supporter of better relations with India and so, in that spirit, he should extend Singh an invitation to make an official trip to Pakistan,” it added.

But the rate of improvement in the relations between the two countries depends on the outcome of the Lok Sabha elections in India, according to the daily.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), under the leadership of Narendra Modi, its prime ministerial candidate, is in no mood to engage with Pakistan. If the BJP defeats the Congress, prospects of peace would get stopped and the breakthroughs reversed, it stated.

“The rate of improvement will depend on the result of the Indian elections. The BJP, under the notorious Narendra Modi, is in no mood to engage with Pakistan and should it defeat Congress under Rahul Gandhi, any prospects of peace could be stalled and breakthroughs reversed,” the editorial said.

To maintain peace is difficult as major issues between the two countries like the Kashmir issue remained unsolved.

“Lasting peace, though, is as distant as ever since outstanding issues between the two countries, such as Kashmir, have no end in sight,” it said.

“It would be wiser to seek progress in other areas by relaxing the visa regime and facilitating greater person-to-person contact before tackling more thorny issues.”

There cannot be instant breakthroughs in the relations between the two countries, as it took years to rebuild the trust after the 2008 Mumbai attacks but India and Pakistan should not give up on slow progress, it stressed.

“Rebuilding trust after the 2008 Mumbai attacks took years and similar effort will have to be extended to get back to the status quo that existed before the LoC (Line of Control) fracas. There is no space for dramatic breakthroughs right now but that doesn’t mean either country should give up on slow, steady progress,” it added.

The Indian and Pakistani prime ministers met on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session in New York last year and there has been a marginal improvement in the relations.

“After Singh and Nawaz Sharif met on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session in New York, there has been a marginal improvement in relations and a renewed rhetorical commitment to peace and understanding,” the ditorial noted.

IANS