Apart from the hype surrounding the young Bhutto scion, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari's private visit to India, designed as a religious pilgrimage, has failed to address the Kashmir question, which is the single most critical issue that shapes the diplomatic relations between both the nations.
The chairman of Hurriyat Conference (G) Syed Ali Shah Geelani said there is nothing for Kashmiris in the India-Pak joint statement as there is no direct reference to Kashmir issue in it, Kashmiri media reported. Instead of talking about all outstanding problems, their discussion should have focused on Kashmir issue as it is core dispute, Geelani said, adding that Pakistan should have discussed the issue of human rights violations committed by the state forces in Jammu and Kashmir.
The need of the hour is to maintain discipline within our ranks to take the ongoing movement to its logical conclusion, he said.
However, Chairman of Hurriyat (M) Mirwaiz Umar Farooq was a little more optimistic of the talks between Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Zardari.
We are happy over the normalization of relations between the two neighbors as better relations between them are in the interest of Kashmiris, Mirwaiz said adding that generation next leaders, Bilawal Bhutto, and Rahul Gandhi meeting each other is a welcome step.
However, he added that both the nations cannot afford to avoid the Kashmir issue.Discussing secondary issues like trade, Siachen and Sir Creek cannot reduce trust deficit between both the countries. They have to resolve Kashmir to move ahead, he said.
Patron of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Mufti Muhammad Sayeed said though all problems cannot be resolved in one meeting it is a good thing that both countries have decided to continue bilateral dialogue.
Cordial relations between India and Pakistan are in the interest of the common people of both the countries. Today's meeting is not a coincidence but a positive development to further improve relations, Mufti said in a statement.
Though Zardari did raise the issue of Kashmir along with Sir Creek and Siachen, it is seen only as an exercise in catering to the sensitivities of the Pakistanis.
Meanwhile, the 23-year-old Bilawal, who exudes a modern, sophisticated charm, swept the Indian media off its feet. Indian news publications ran quite a number of stories about Bilawal, which led to political pundits wondering whether the visit was anything more than a coming of age party for the Oxford-educated, politically little-known son of the assassinated Pakistani leader Benazir Bhutto.
Bilawal, who launched into a Twitter campaign from the moment he touched down in Delhi, maintained a warm streak throughout.
AOA India peace be with you. I have just landed in Delhi. 1st ever visit, Bilawal tweeted.
His tweet post the power lunch gushed over the Indian premier and the Gandhi scion: Prez n I enjoyed Lunch with Rahul Gandhi and PM Singh. lovely meal. much to learn from each other.
President Zardari is the first Pakistani head of state to visit India since 2005.