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Tuesday, 28 May, 2002, 14:59 GMT 15:59 UK
Press verdict on Musharraf address
Indian daily newspapers
Press in India critical of Pakistan's stand
Several of India's newspaper believe Pakistani President General Pervez Musharraf's that the much-awaited address to the nation failed to live up to the hype.


General Musharraf delivered a hard-hitting speech that... essentially dared the Indian government to go to war

Times of India
"A big let-down" is how The India Express newspaper describes it.

The fact that speech made no progress in reducing tensions in the region - and in fact served only to push the two countries closer to war - is a point highlighted by many of the papers.

They say that General Musharraf was aiming to please the international community and his domestic audience, rather than extending an olive branch to India.

No concessions

A commentary in the widely-read Times of India believes that General Musharraf made no attempt in his speech to diffuse the tension in the region.

"General Musharraf delivered a hard-hitting speech that granted no fresh concessions on the terrorism issue and essentially dared the Indian government to go to war."

Pakistani President
President Musharraf: Speech not well received
It says that General Musharraf's main aim was to boost popularity at home, by trying to rally support for himself in the name of defending Pakistan.

"It was the desperate verbal equivalent of the missile tests he conducted last week," it says. "Anything that even smacked of bending before India's diktat would have been the kiss of death for him."

But the commentator urges the Indian government not to rise to the bait.

"Hard as it may seem, the Vajpayee government will have to take the General's provocative posturing in its stride."

Nothing new

The Hindustan times, Delhi's largest-circulation daily, says that General Musharraf had very little new to say from his previous address on 12 January.


It was tough because President Musharraf in his general's uniform went on the offensive

The News of Pakistan
This is summed up in the paper's cartoon.

The picture shows a Pakistani couple watching General Musharraf on television and the caption reads: "See you tomorrow, same time, same channel - with another episode of My Address to The Nation!"

The Statesman newspaper says that only his choice of wardrobe had changed.

"General Pervez Musharraf was today dressed in battle fatigues, unlike the black sherwani he wore to deliver the 12 January address. Then he had certain concessions to offer. Today he had nothing but added belligerence," it laments.

Pakistan press

The News was one of the few Pakistani papers to comment on directly on President Musharraf's speech.

In a commentary, the paper says that it is one of the toughest speech since he assumed power in October 1999.

"It was tough because President Musharraf in his general's uniform went on the offensive by accusing not only the Indian Government but also the Hindu extremists of committing atrocities against their own people."

The commentator says the Pakistan president was not defensive at all while taking on India or defending Pakistan's stand on Kashmir and terrorism.

However, in the paper's editorial condemns war of any sort, and also criticises Pakistan's foreign policy.

The editorial stresses the need for more international support.

"It is time the US, which is once again showering rich praises on Pakistan, converts some of that endorsement into practical support."

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See also:

15 May 02 | South Asia
15 May 02 | South Asia
15 May 02 | South Asia
06 Apr 02 | South Asia
14 May 02 | South Asia
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