Islamabad, Sep 8 (IANS) Even before the first things were put in fine print and signed, media in Pakistan Saturday gave a thumbs-up to the visit of India's External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna visit to Pakistan saying that both countries had reached a milestone.
The context was India and Pakistan finally agreeing to sign the much-awaited visa accord, which will mark a big change in the visa regime and make things simpler for the common people of both countries.
Leading newspaper, The Dawn, which carried a lead story Friday saying that Krishna was arriving amid "low expectations", too lauded the ground covered by both countries to arrive at the visa pact. It talked about the "liberalised visa regime" being signed.
Most newspapers, English and vernacular, had the visit and the visa pact as their lead story with enough space being devoted to related stories, including Krishna's meetings with top political leaders and even his panel discussion with Pakistani media.
The News daily said that both Pakistan and India appeared "upbeat" after talks at the foreign secretaries' level here Friday.
It spoke of the eight categories for which the visa regime will be liberalised, including group tourist visas, on-arrival visas for over 65 years, 36-hour transit visa, five-city visa for businessmen and visas for civil society, media, diplomatic and non-diplomatic categories.
The newspaper, quoting diplomatic community in Pakistan, said that they were "expressing cautious optimism" about the latest developments but added that "continuation of talks between the two countries is itself an achievement".
In another story on Krishna's panel interview with Pakistani media, The News quoted Krishna saying: " All problems cannot be solved in one go. India has always taken the position of following a step-by-step movement and that is the approach we are taking right now."
India's desire to see a stable and peaceful Pakistan is "not only encouraging but a key to many outstanding issues that need resolution sooner rather than later", said the Daily Times in an editorial.
"The issues besetting the two countries are well known and have been talked about plenty of times," it said, adding that terrorism, water disputes and Kashmir have been highlighted in the foreign secretary level talks held Friday.
The daily observed that "with the realization finally dawning on India and Pakistan about the importance of interdependence within the present global context, the much sought after development in the visa regime is set to materialise with the signing of a liberalised visa issuance policy by the Foreign Minister of Pakistan Hina Rabbani Khar and Krishna".
(Jaideep Sarin can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)