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EDITORIALS ELSEWHERE

Reacting to the response

October 12, 2005|Swati Pandey

SOUTH ASIAN editorial pages offer mostly predictable critiques today on earthquake relief efforts. A Kashmiri paper decries failures by India and Pakistan; Pakistani papers cautiously praise their government's response to the quake, and Indian papers are somewhat self-congratulatory.

The Kashmir Times, an independent daily circulated in Jammu and Kashmir, faults India and Pakistan for not engaging in joint relief efforts. Such efforts are a necessity, the paper argues, not just as a "confidence-building measure" but also on "humanitarian grounds."

Two Pakistani national papers -- the Nation and the Lahore-based Daily Times -- applaud Pakistan's opposition parties for putting aside their differences. Some parties even declined to observe today's "Black Day," so named in protest of President Pervez Musharraf's overthrow of the government on Oct. 12, 1999. But the Nation rebukes the slow government response, and the Daily Times fears unity is fleeting. In Pakistan, it says, natural disasters have often "been exploited by politicians to make life impossible for governments in power."

In India, Asian Age and the Calcutta-based Statesman praise the military's response to the quake. Though relief isn't entirely the army's responsibility -- and shouldn't be, says the Statesman -- the army's quick reaction won praise even from Kashmiris who usually find it oppressive. The papers reserve their criticism for a slow civil government and an apathetic business community, which, says the Age, "has maintained a grim silence, probably because the financial stakes in Jammu and Kashmir are too low."

Swati Pandey

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