World Cup 2011: Pakistan media's reaction

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Pakistan cricket team captain and manager addressing media
Islamabad, Mar 31: A get together brought about by cricket should serve to revive Indo-Pak dialogue so rudely shattered by the Mumbai attacks, advocated the Pakistani media after the historic meeting of the two Prime Ministers at Mohali.

It was a thrilling game that kept millions across the border glued to their television sets, the Pakistani media today said and counselled that the same spirit should be the resolve of Prime Ministers Yousuf Raza Gilani and Manmohan Singh to settle all outstanding issues.

Noting that the carnival like environment prevailed at the World Cup 2011 semi final match at Mohali [scorecard], which itself was an achievement, the media said it was ''diplomacy through cricket''.

The match and the highest-level diplomacy dominated the front pages of the papers here which said that the Mohali meeting is a clear indication of Gilani and Manmohan's resolve to pursue the peace process despite hurdles in the way.

Describing the meeting of the two premiers in a carnival-like environment at the World Cup semi-final venue of Mohali as "itself an achievement", the influential Dawn newspaper said in its editorial that "this get-together should serve to help revive the composite dialogue so rudely shattered by the Mumbai episode".

Noting that a breakthrough was never expected, the editorial contended that "the Mohali meeting is a clear indication of the two Prime Ministers'' resolve to pursue the peace process despite the hurdles in the way, not the least of which is the opposition from the hawks in Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's cabinet to a soft line towards Pakistan, and his weakened position because of the corruption scandals".

It also said there was "a modest diplomatic gain" in that Singh had accepted Gilani's invitation to visit Pakistan.

"This should be a matter of satisfaction seen against the background of the mistrust that has characterised India-Pakistan ties for six decades," it added.

The News daily, in its editorial, called on politicians to take a cue from the way people united and rooted for the Pakistani team, which "fought like brave men and lost to a better side".

It said: "The politicians should better get a cue and start working to rally the people around a cause which the people can support with similar enthusiasm and unity of purpose."

"The cricketers have proved that they are the best and now it is time for the politicians and the administrators to get their act together and provide a secure and conducive environment for world cricketers to come and play in Pakistan.

This may be more difficult in these trying times than winning a World Cup," it added.

However, the headlines on the front pages of newspapers reflected the gloom of Pakistani cricket fans at their teams loss to India.

PTI

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