Deep freeze after Mumbai attacks thawing: Pakistani daily

An editorial notes signs of easing of tensions between Pakistan and India.

Islamabad: There are signs that the deep freeze between India and Pakistan that set in after the 2008 Mumbai attacks is "finally thawing", a Pakistani daily said on Thursday.

An editorial in the News International said the signs are that there is an easing of tensions between Pakistan and India, and "that the deep freeze that set in after the 2008 Mumbai attacks is finally thawing".

Ten terrorists sneaked into Mumbai on November 26, 2008, and went on a three-day killing spree, leaving 166 people dead. One of the terrorists, Ajmal Amir Kasab, was caught alive and arrested. The terror strike strained India-Pakistan relations.

Noting that trade is one of those areas where the two countries could make "significant advances relatively quickly", it said: "There are markets in both states that would benefit enormously from an easing of restrictions."

The editorial appeared when two-day trade talks were on between Indian Commerce Secretary Rahul Khullar and his Pakistani counterpart Zafar Mahmood in Islamabad.

Describing the talks as "welcome", the editorial said: "It is encouraging that the talks are to be unstructured, without a fixed agenda, which will allow the participants to range far and wide."

"Topics for discussion will include the ongoing work at the Attari-Wagah Integrated Checkpost and the possibility of India being granted the most favoured nation status by Pakistan.”

"We also need to see a relaxation of business visas on both sides and all that can be done to encourage the two-way flow of tourists should be done. A properly negotiated trade relationship is of mutual benefit, and trade is a powerful confidence-building measure."

It wrapped up saying that trade is the "road to go down, and it would appear that the first steps are being taken. Let us hope for many more in the near future".