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SAARC summit: Pakistani newspapers match the Indian media's frenzy

Charu Kartikeya | Updated on: 10 February 2017, 1:46 IST

Prime Minister Narendra Modi\'s aggressive decision to stay away from the SAARC summit to be held in Islamabad in November appears to have created ripples in Pakistan. Many Pakistani newspapers have reacted alarmingly to the decision, with some even using language conveying rebuke and ridicule for India.

The extra coverage given to India is understandable, given the war-mongering that some quarters have indulged in, in both the countries, since the Uri attack. The tone of the coverage, however, is interesting to note and indicates that frenzy is the order of the day, not just on this side of the border.

Exploding on the front pages of all newspapers, additionally, is a comment from, Sartaj Aziz, Pakistani prime minister\'s foreign policy advisor, that if the Indus Water Treaty is revoked, it "can be taken as an act of war or a hostile act against Pakistan". Here\'s a look at what six Pakistani newspapers are saying about the prevailing situation:

Express Tribune

Express Tribune is, arguably, the most aggressive of the lot, with its top headline saying India has 'torpedoed' the SAARC summit. The story goes on to say, "India's obduracy and its desperate campaign to isolate Pakistan have sabotaged a key regional summit".

On Aziz's statement, the newspaper says it tore into "Modi's water war threat' and also assesses that "After the Sept 18 Uri attack, every flippant threat from India elicited a befitting response from Pakistan."

Another report claims that the Pakistani Senate has called for revoking the country's Free Trade Agreement with India and also reviewing the latter's SAARC membership, if it unilaterally nullifies the Indus Waters Treaty (IWT).


The Dawn has exhibited some restrained coverage by staying away from aggressive rhetoric and merely stating that India's 'pull-out' from the SAARC summit has put the latter in 'doldrums'. However, the report does raise tensions by noting that "India had earlier held up another Saarc summit due to its tensions with Pakistan: the Kathmandu summit in January 2002."

The paper has also taken note of Aziz's statement.

There is also a report about how the US is having a tough time playing referee amidst the conflict.

Another report says Pakistan has appealed to the World Bank to prevent India from making illegal constructions on the Jhelum and Chenab rivers.

There is a photo-story on the impact of pellet guns on average Kashmiris. The accompanying text says, "The sight of the human damage caused by the indiscriminate use of pellet guns is a reminder of the Indian security forces' impunity toward Kashmiri civilians."

An opinion piece in the newspaper by author Zahid Hussain argues, "Any effort to destabilise Pakistan through covert and overt operations will have serious consequences not only for the region but also for India itself."

The News International

"After water, India targets SAARC Summit" is the The News International's headline on the SAARC pull-out. The story goes on to say that "New Delhi is preparing to take...desperate measures...while not changing the reality inside Indian Held Kashmir".

Aziz's statement has been duly noted.

Also noted is the Indian Air Force's exercises across all its 18 airbases and other installations from Srinagar to Bikaner.

Another report says that anger over "India's crackdown on 10 weeks of protests in held Kashmir" may push young people towards "radical rebellion".

A piece by a strategic analyst appeals to "saner elements on both sides" "to de-escalate the current atmosphere of war hysteria" and make "earnest efforts...to restart the stalled peace process".

However, another piece by another analyst underlines the need for Pakistan to raise the Kashmir issue in the international community to counter the Indian narrative on Kashmir.

Daily Times

Daily Times proclaims that tensions between India and Pakistan have risen because Modi decided to cancel his participation in the SAARC summit.

The report on the threat of young Kashmiris turning to rebellion has also been published in this newspaper.

A report claims that Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will "discuss deteriorating Indian relations" with the country' Parliament.

Daily Times on the Indus Water Treaty

Interestingly, an editorial in the newspaper urges Pakistanis to take the initiative to tell the world "that Pakistan is ready for peace with India."

Another editorial says, in the context of Balochistan, that it is Pakistan that "has to do deep introspection and self-analyses for rectifying all faults that caused crises in the past".

The Nation

The SAARC pull-out and Sartaj Aziz's statement have been duly covered.

Additionally, India handing over proof of Pakistan's involvement in the Uri attacks to Pakiatan's envoy has also been reported.

There is also a report on the resumption of trade across the Line of Control.

This is what 'The Nation' wants to know in Pakistan

A piece on 'countering India' advises Pakistan to adopt an "aggressive posture against India" to "put the latter on the back foot".

Another piece shames India for contemplating stopping the waters of Indus to hurt common Pakistanis.

There is also a first-person account of facing the pellets fired by security forces in Kashmir.

Pakistan Observer

Azis's statement is the top story in Pakistan Observer.

Other reports include one on members of Pakistan's Hindu community holding a rally against Indian atrocities in Kashmir.

Another report quotes Islamabad-based former Indus Water Commissioner Jamat Ali Shah, saying that India lacks the technical capability to block Pakistan's water flow.

An editorial in the newspaper says India "was not serious in addressing fundamental regional problems" and was pursuing "policies that would put regional security and peace at serious risks".

Also Read:

No option but to talk to Pakistan. Smoke and mirrors will lead nowhere

Abdul Basit summoned again by MEA; given more proof that Uri attackers came from Pak

India aims a big weapon at Pak: could pull its man from Indus Water Commission

First published: 28 September 2016, 6:09 IST
Charu Kartikeya @CharuKeya

Assistant Editor at Catch, Charu enjoys covering politics and uncovering politicians. Of nine years in journalism, he spent six happily covering Parliament and parliamentarians at Lok Sabha TV and the other three as news anchor at Doordarshan News. A Royal Enfield enthusiast, he dreams of having enough time to roar away towards Ladakh, but for the moment the only miles he's covering are the 20-km stretch between home and work.