Ufa meet: Did Sharif’s caginess towards Pak media win India brownie points?

Karachi, July 13 (ANI): Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s reluctance to face his country’s media during foreign visits gave Indian media the opportunity to build a narrative in India’s favour during the recent talks held with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Ufa, Russia, observers said.

They added that it also acted in Prime Minister Modi’s favour, who kept the meeting focused on the Mumbai terror attacks and terrorism afflicting the region, reported the Dawn.

Since Pakistani media coverage of the meeting was pushed on the back foot, Sharif’s Adviser on Foreign Affairs and National Security, Sartaj Aziz, and other government functionaries had to explain the main content of the talks between the two prime ministers.

In contrast, the moment the meeting ended in Ufa on Friday, Indian media started portraying the bilateral talks as a victory for Prime Minister Modi as the joint statement highlighted the Mumbai terror attacks.

It however, made no mention of Kashmir, tension along the Line of Control (LoC) or the dispute over the International Border from the Pakistan side.

As the Islamic Republic’s press struggled to know what actually happened during the meeting, Indian news networks were providing live coverage of the huddle.

Pakistani TV channels had to ultimately rely on comments by Indian journalists and others opted for airing footage from Indian channels. Local media had to wait until a formal statement was released to bring in their analysts to discuss the deliberations.

While dozens of print and electronic mediapersons accompanied Prime Minister Modi, none were allowed to go from Pakistan, barring a mid-ranking official of the information ministry, who kept providing tickers to TV channels with occasional photographs.

Information Minister Pervez Rashid defended his government’s decision to neither encourage nor discourage local journalists from joining the premier on his foreign trips saying, they had stopped ‘financially supporting’ private media.

A PMO official admitted that Indians had been able to build a better narrative on the outcome of the meeting because of the effective media handling, adding that the absence of Pakistan’s media from Ufa had been duly noticed at the highest level. (ANI)

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