Islamabad, May 20 : Conflicting signals are quite visible here over the future of the bilateral composite dialogue between India and Pakistan.
While the media appears sceptical about the impact the current round of talks will have on bilateral relations, defence experts don't see any reason for the talks not to succeed.
Shah Mehmood Qureshi (Pakistan Foreign Minister) is not in a position to offer anything to India because the government here is incomplete. Nine federal ministers have resigned recently and the mandate of this government is, you see...they have a half mandate, the half mandate is for Nawaz Sharif and the half mandate is for Asif Ali Zardari. So, the People's Party government cannot talk to India with half mandate," said Hamid Mir, a senior journalist.
However, former Pakistan Defence Secretary Lt. Gen. (retired) Talat Masood is of the view that while the Yousuf Raza Gilani Government is facing a rough match in the wake of the resignations of the PML-N ministers from his Cabinet, flexibility vis- -vis talks with India will be demonstrated.
"There is no doubt that the present government is going through a difficult period and it will take some time before it consolidates. The fact is that even the military when it was in power was showing great flexibility towards the Kashmir problem and I think they will continue to show that flexibility," Lt. Gen. (retired) Talat Masood told ANI.
"It's really the civilian government which has to always promote the resolution of the Kashmir problem and also having better relations with India. So, I don't think that there is any major element in Pakistan today, except for certain conservative establishment diehards, who are in both countries, apart from them, I don't see why this process should not move forward," he added.
The comments of these experts notwithstanding, the Indian and Pakistani delegations attending Tuesday's talks said they were satisfied with peace process
Sources said top foreign ministry officials discussed thorny subjects, including Kashmir and terrorism during the review of the four rounds of talks held over the past four years.
"The foreign secretaries expressed satisfaction at the progress made so far and exchanged views on carrying forward the composite dialogue process," a Pakistani foreign ministry statement said.
"The talks were held in a friendly and constructive atmosphere," they added.
Indian Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee and his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mehmood Qureshi are set to meet on Wednesday for a final review of the peace process.
The talks this week is the first high-level contact between the two sides since February 2007, when Mukherjee travelled to Pakistan. By Naveen Kapoor