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'India wants normalisation without budging on Kashmir'
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Pranab Mukherjee in Pakistan

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January 15, 2007 18:19 IST

The refusal of External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee to set a time frame to resolve the Kashmir issue could mean that there was no prospect of its resolution in the near future, and India wanted normalisation without budging an inch on the issue, Pakistani media said on Monday.

"India creeps on towards its goal of normalisation without budging an inch from its intransigence on the core issue," The Nation said, adding Mukherjee's comments on Kashmir at Saturday's joint press conference meant the near future held "no prospect" of its settlement, contrary to the Pakistani leadership's optimistic assessments.

After three years of peace process, the daily claimed that there was little headway to boast about towards the resolution of the "real disputes" and Pakistan has ended up ceding more ground with every diplomatic encounter.

"India had taken the plea that a climate of tension was not conducive to dialogue. But playing ball has not helped and it seems Pakistan ends up ceding more ground with every diplomatic encounter," the report said.

It said, "Leave aside Kashmir, India is not willing to give Pakistan a fair deal on any other issue, whether Siachen or Sir Creek. Dr Singh will not visit Pakistan unless there is some agreement, that is, the Indian viewpoint is conceded."

The Daily Times, however, gave a more optimistic view saying the ministers put the "big disputes" behind them and the assertions like "we reviewed progress on all issues" was the "usual kabuki", which "had to be done because it no longer concerns the people." 

Asserting that the media must not hype up the Indo-Pak dialogue in a negative fashion, the daily said Pakistanis who suffer because of the deadlock of normal relations between the two countries are no longer threatening to revolt against the state if it cannot win Kashmir for them.

The path to follow is to normalise bilateral relationship unconditionally to such an extent that hostile rhetoric dies down and can no longer be exploited politically.

"We should pursue resolution of the outstanding disputes, meanwhile allowing the populations of both countries to taste the fruits of peaceful coexistence," the Daily Times said.

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