Has logical thinking ‘Dawn’ed on Pak post Pathankot terror attack?

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For all those dejected Indians who feel that the fresh tale of peace with Pakistan would go awry as it had in 1999 and 2008, Monday's editorial in Dawn, a major Pakistani newspaper can provide a boost.

In the write-up titled "Pathankot aftermath", it was said that a statement from the Pakistani prime minister's office hinted at the talks that took place between Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and US Secretary of State John Kerry in the wake of the terror attack in Pathankot airbase.

Pathankot attack

The statement, according to the editorial, offered "some clues about what was presumably discussed in more robust and forthright terms privately: the India-Pakistan dialogue must not be derailed and Pakistan must work to investigate and bring to justice any Pakistan-based individuals involved in the Pathankot airbase attack".

US intervention not enough

It said though US has presumably played an important role in the Indo-Pak issue, but intervention could also pose a threat to the main objective, which is resumption of talks between the two sides.

According to the editorial, the Pathankot attack should not delay the talks between the neighbours and that the issue needed to resolved by India and Pakistan themselves.

The viewpoint is more than correct. The two nuclear powers cannot be influenced externally to sit together for talks. While India is the world's largest democracy, Pakistan, too, has evolved as a politically stable state in recent years.

They know the complexities of their bilateral problems more than anybody else. The presence of a third party only creates scope for more confusion and delay although it might look apparently to be a felicitating force.

Dawn has raised right questions

The Dawn editorial also said that "high-level diplomacy and serious intelligence cooperation are the urgent needs right now. Rather than leaving it up to India to provide all the details available to it, there should be an independent investigation inside Pakistan too. Were Pakistanis involved in the Pathankot attack?"

Has terror failed to break the spirit of Modi's informal diplomacy?

This rise of questions from within Pakistan is a positive. One feels that Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Lahore stopover has left an impression on the Pakistani psyche about a genuine will of improving the relation between the two neighbours.

There is a feeling in Pakistan that the Pathankot attack has done a great disservice to the relation between the two countries. It seems the elements have failed to spoil the warmth which was generated by Modi's surprise visit to Lahore.

The informal diplomacy of reaching out to the Pakistani leadership by PM Modi perhaps proved more effective than the general formal patterns of diplomacy seen during the times of Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Manmohan Singh. It also gave India a strong moral platform to win over confidence of the US.

Pathankot attack perhaps was a response too early

One also feels that the anti-peace elements responded to fast this time to derail the fresh rapprochement between India and Pakistan. The Dawn editorial suggests that this rather pre-emptive strike by the terrorists (even before the talks began formally) just when the Modi government started to show its pro-peace approach did not go down well with the Pakistani establishment.

"Surely, there must be steps taken to dismantle the infrastructure that anti-India militants seem to have built around the country," the editorial said.

Sharif, who also ‘lost' in the 1999 Kargil War, will also look to secure a place in history

Nawaz Sharif, too, bears the baggage of the 1999 backlash when the Lahore bus diplomacy was followed by the Kargil War and he would be thankful to his Indian counterpart for creating a fresh opportunity for both the countries to rewrite the story of peace and book an immortal place in history.

His government has already made some moves and the Indian government, too, has acted maturely this time by not escalating the issue at the formal levels to jeopardise the future of the nascent peace initiative.

"Protect Pak's foreign policy from militants"

The Dawn editorial's conclusion speaks about the desperate feeling in the Pakistani establishment about the menace called terror: "The internal fight against militancy, particularly over the last year and a half, has been about securing the country. Now it is time that this country's foreign policy is also protected from militants".

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