Islamabad, July 11: The meeting between Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi drew mixed reactions in Pakistan, with most of the political parties accusing Sharif of failing to highlight Kashmir but the media was generally positive.
However, the media also was disappointed that Kashmir did not figure in the joint statement.
Opposition Pakistan People's Party welcomed the meeting between the two leaders in Ufa, Russia on Friday but said Sharif failed to highlight Pakistan's concerns clearly and precisely, the Express Tribune reported.
Senior PPP leader and former ambassador to US Sherry Rehman described the meeting as "one-sided". "We welcome PM Modi to the SAARC summit and we also support PM Sharif's peace efforts, but breakthroughs in bilateral relationships can only be achieved when concerns from both sides are successfully communicated," she said.
"Otherwise such initiatives fall short of sustainable peace. Successful diplomacy is always about stating your case in this case Pakistans concerns look as if they have been put on a collective back burner," she added.
Earlier, PPP leader and former interior minister Rehman Malik said it was as an insult to Pakistan as he alleged that Modi was "arrogant" and behaved like the "Tsar of Russia" in the meeting. Another opposition party, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, said that invitation to Modi was unnecessary and "beyond the requirements of diplomatic protocol".
Pak media was disappointed that Kashmir did not figure in the joint statement
Tehreek-e-Insaf Vice-President Shireen Mazari said Sharif failed to highlight Kashmir issue and Indian involvement in Balochistan. Expressing disappointment over the manner in which she felt Nawaz "appeased" India, she said: "Modi raised Mumbai and Sharif agreed to 'fast track' the investigations. Not a word on Samjhauta Express was uttered by PM Sharif."
Tehreek-e-Insaf leader and former foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said that Kashmir should have been mentioned in the joint declaration.
Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid President and ex-prime minister Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain said nothing good would come out of the talks as long as Modi is India's prime minister.
Mushahid Hussain Syed, who is the Senates defence committee chairman, said the meeting had modest expectations and those were met. "Though these are small steps forward, they are positive for regional peace and stability," he said.
"Modi has realised his policy of trying to bully and browbeat Pakistan or trying to isolate Pakistan has failed." Interestingly, the Islamic parties so far largely have conspicuously failed to comment on the meeting.