Islamabad: After initially welcoming Friday's meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif, leaders and media in Pakistan have criticised the government over the absence of any mention of the vexed Kashmir issue in the joint statement.
Sharif met Modi in the Russian city of Ufa on the sidelines of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) following which a joint statement was issued that mentioned terrorism and the need to expedite the Mumbai trial but Kashmir was conspicuously missing in it.
Shah Mehmood Qureshi, former foreign minister and leader of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), told private Express TV channel that Kashmir should have been mentioned in the joint communique.
"It is quite strange that Kashmir has not been part of the statement," he said.
Senator Rehman Malik of Pakistan People's Party (PPP) said that Modi was disrespectful towards Sharif and behaved like a Tsar, forcing the Pakistani premier to walk through a long corridor to come towards his "throne".
"Modi didn't show the slightest courtesy under diplomatic norms for his Pakistani counterpart to walk a few steps forward to receive him," he said.
Talat Hussain, prominent anchor of Geo TV, said that it was Sharif's failure to get Kashmir mentioned in the joint statement.
He said it looked as if Sharif was just trying to please Modi.
"I think government was in a hurry to get a positive response from India," he said.
Senator Sehar Kamran, who heads Centre for Pakistan and Gulf Studies (CPGS) think-tank also criticised the joint statement.
"The statement, only mentions the Mumbai case trial, but fails to highlight the lingering Kashmir dispute which is a lost opportunity to illustrate the destabilising role of India in the region
"Kashmir is the jugular vein of Pakistan and the resolution of the Kashmir dispute lies at the heart of future prospects for regional peace and stability," she said.
Foreign Office (FO) so far has not commented on absence of any mention of Kashmir in the joint statement but it is believed that government will come under lot of fire over it.