US President Obama’s India visit has dominated the Pakistani Urdu media this week. Almost all the Urdu Dailies wrote more than one editorial during and after Obama’s visit to India. Most of these editorials expressed disappointment over Obama’s bypassing of Islamabad en route to New Delhi.
Ahead of Obama’s India visit, the Express Urdu Daily’s editorial stated, “The way the US is pampering India now, does not indicate that it gives equal importance to Pakistan. It is to be seen whether the US takes special steps (to allay Pakistan’s concerns) after its President’s visit to India.” The Daily also hoped that Obama should raise the Kashmir issue. It opined that “the US should play its role in resolving the Kashmir issue and bring stability in the region and if the name of Kashmir comes on his (Obama’s) lips, Pakistan will welcome it.”
However, a day after his visit, the Express Urdu Daily expressed disappointment since Obama did not raise the Kashmir issue with Indian leadership. The Daily, in its editorial stated, “During his India visit, there was moral pressure on Obama to highlight the needs for resolution of Kashmir issue and urge the Indian leadership to move forward on the issue. But he ignored this moral pressure and his remark to resolve it as a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan was unfortunate.” The Daily further writes that “being a superpower, it is an obligation on America to remain unbiased on this issue. The Pakistani people already feel that the US is biased towards India, on various disputed issues between India and Pakistan. The US has further deepened this belief by lavishing praise on India and by evading from its responsibilities to resolve the disputed issue between the two countries.” The Daily goes on to criticise Obama for his suggestion to resolve less-contentious issues first and then address the larger disputes. It opines, “Obama is not right when he suggests that less-contentious issues should be resolved first. In our view, important disputes such as Kashmir and Siachen should be resolved first. This will lead to resolution of smaller disputes.”
In its first editorial on Obama’s India visit, the Jang Urdu Daily stated that “Any American leadership’s foreign visit is not of an ordinary nature. The US administration studies various aspects of the regional situation and adopts its policy for the region and the countries that their leaders intend to visit. Obama’s visit to India was not hidden from people in our government, Foreign Ministry and concerned departments. They should have seriously reviewed the visit and should have convinced the US administration to include Pakistan in the President’s itinerary as this could have benefited Pakistan. But our government woke up and requested only when all his plans were already finalized.” The editorial further opines that despite all sacrifices in war against terrorism, Pakistan failed to get civilian nuclear technology from the US but India despite not being an NPT signatory got it. The Daily questions the Pakistani administration for not doing its “homework to end this discrimination” against Pakistan.
In its second editorial on Obama’s visit, the Jang Urdu Daily commented on his remarks the very next day. It quoted him as saying that the US does not want to mediate between India and Pakistan over disputed issues. The Daily termed this remark as “evading from its responsibility to resolve the burning issue of Kashmir.” The Daily further writes that “if President Obama is really sincere about world peace, he should not detach himself from the issue of Kashmir. He should make it explicitly clear to the Indian government that instead of dragging the Kashmir issue further, it should resolve the issue without delay. On one hand, India is suppressing the freedom movement in occupied Kashmir by using brute force while on the other hand it is obstructing the flow of water towards Pakistan by constructing dams and thus destroying its economy. This is a very delicate and sensitive issue. The US should note that to make India happy it should not move so ahead that it harms Pakistan’s interest. Being a superpower it has to stop India from taking measures that are anti-Pakistan and it has to push India towards the path of peace.”
Commenting on Obama’s India visit, the Azkar Urdu Daily in its first editorial wrote, “During his India visit, Obama will sign various defence and economic agreements. The US sees India as big economic market. It also aspires to use India as counterbalancing actor against China. These are two points on which the US gives priority to India over Pakistan.” Regarding Kashmir, the Daily stated that it is yet to be seen as to what kind of statement Obama makes on UN resolution on Kashmir and whether he will agree to play his role to resolve this sensitive issue between India and Pakistan.
The Daily expressed satisfaction over Obama’s remarks in India in its post visit editorial. It says that “On Indian soil, it is a reasonably balanced speech by an American, as despite all Indian diplomatic tactics, Obama neither targetted Pakistan nor made any statement which could give a message that Pakistan allows its soil for terrorist attacks in India. This is quite contrary to statements made by David Cameroon who during his visit criticized Pakistan which gave basis to Indians to point fingers against Pakistan.” The Daily says that thus Obama’s speech in India went against the “expectation of the Indian lobby”. Obama adopted a positive attitude towards Pakistan and appreciated its efforts against terrorism and advised India to “stop thinking of destabilising Pakistan.” While concluding the editorial, the Daily asks, “How Pakistani politician, thinker and military capitalize this diplomatic failure of India, is an important question.”
The editorial of Jasarat Urdu Daily has opined, “By not raising the issue of Kashmir, Obama has disappointed Pakistani leadership.” It further states that the visit and the economic cooperation agreements between the two countries will lead to “accumulation of wealth”. “The accumulation of wealth leads to the elimination of peace and sows seed of war and terrorism.” The US President’s visit to India suggests that India has become a full member of global economic imperialism and after becoming an American ally in economic imperialism, India will “pose danger to peace in the South Asian region.”
Al-Akhbar Urdu Daily, however, has welcomed Obama’s statements during his India visit. The Daily, in its editorial, writes, “One of the important aspects of Obama’s visit to India is that he hinted that Kashmir is an issue that needs resolution and has also said that the US may play a friendly mediator role in resolving the issue.” The Daily opines that this kind of statement on the Indian soil is “an extra-ordinary message for India.” It is now up to India and Pakistan whether they accept the US as “friendly mediator” or resolve the issue bilaterally. None the less, Obama has suggested ways to both the countries of resolving their less contentious issues first, writes the Daily. It further states, “It is hoped that after the US President’s visit, both the countries should resume their talks to resolve the less contentious issues” as suggested by Obama.
Public opinion in Pakistan also expressed similar sentiments about the burgeoning relations between the US and India. An opinion poll by Asas Urdu Daily tried to asses its respondents whether the India-US growing cooperation poses threat to Pakistan. An overwhelming majority responded in “Yes”
Q. Is the US agreements with India pose danger to Pakistan? (Poll conducted on November, 7, 2010)
Amid the debates in Pakistani media over Obama’s statement that US may play the role of friendly mediator to resolve disputed issues between India and Pakistan, the Asas Urdu Daily conducted another poll asking if Obama can resolve Kashmir issue? An overwhelming majority of Pakistani respondents did not exude confidence in his leadership role towards resolving the issue.
Q. Will Obama be able to resolve Kashmir issue? (Poll conducted on November 9, 2010)