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INDO-PAK RELATIONS DISCUSSED ON SOUTHASIAN PULSE 

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On Southasian Pulse the topic of Discussion was Indo- Pak Relations especially Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s tour to India. Group Editor Yudhvir Jaswal invited Badar Munir Chaudhary,GEO Canada head and publisher of Akhbar-e-Pakistan to present this views along with Ranvir Sharda.Yudhvir started of by saying that as a mature leader Pakistani Prime Minister showed courtesy in accepting the invitation of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to attend his swearing-in ceremony but since then has been the target of some criticism in Pakistan. Reciprocating to Pakistan’s move to free 151 Indian fishermen on May 26, India on Friday repatriated 37 Pak prisoners, including 32 fishermen as a goodwill gesture. During his visit to India Nawaz Sharif stressed upon the need to break down trade barriers between the two countries, this is being looked upon by the fundamentalists as the concern of an industrialist pursuing his business interest. This line of thought has the potential of weakening the political position of Nawaz Sharif. Cricketer-turned politician Imran Khan saying that Nawaz Sharif was treated like a schoolboy during his trip to India as it reflected misplaced priorities of the Pakistan Prime Minister, who put the Kashmir issue on the backburner. Badar Chaudhary said that, Imran who is thought to be a moderate seems to be towing an aggressive policy and holding huge processions across Pakistan in this regard. He hoped better times
are ahead of both India and Pakistan but one unfortunate incident here or there should not be exploited by Indian media or hardliners and talks should never be derailed. He also criticized the approach of Foreign Secretary of India Sujata Singh who kept a stiff tone while answering questions of media regarding Modi-Sharif meeting. Yudhvir defended saying she was not aggressive and in fact she did not comment on several issues and It is the media who gives
their own spin. He said that the Foreign Secretary of India just acknowledged to the media during the briefing after the ModiSharif that the concerns from the Indian side regarding 26/11 attacks in Mumbai and other Terror related issues were highlighted. Though Badar said this was not the time to discuss these issues. Ranvir Sharda agreed with Badar that some of the Indian Media do add fuel to the fire and should not make any provocative headlines. Yudhvir while acknowledged that there could be some irresponsible journalists but most of the India media houses have very good relation with Nawaz Sharif and did get interviews on
his arrival to India. Chaudhary commended Sharif’s gesture and said if relations between India and Pakistan do not improve during his tenure things will only go south from here. Yudhvir said that both Modi & Sharif have strong mandates and both have an eye on Development so
better trade ties can strengthen the relation between India & Pakistan. In 1999, during Nawaz Sharif’s first stint as Pakistani Prime Minister, BJP-affiliated Prime Minister Atah Behari Vajpayee met frequently with his Pakistani counterpart and established a warm relationship with Sharif that climaxed in PM Vajpayee travelling on the first bus between India and Pakistan in nearly half a century. During Sharif’s visit to India last week, he met former PM
Vajpayee at his residence to reflect upon their previous relationship and political accomplishments. With Modi boldly breaking the ice with Pakistan during his first 48 hours as prime minister, the potential for the normalization of economic and diplomatic
ties between the two historical foes appears inevitable.On the question of challenges faced by Geo News Network triggered by the Hamid Mir episode, Chaudhary updated that though the government wishes to support Geo, the military establishment is still sour on the subject. At the same time a section of press and people are also divided. But he showed optimism that
soon things will take a favourable turn.

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