Pakistani media today blamed India for the cancellation of first-ever NSA-level talks by setting "pre-conditions" ahead of National Security Advisor Sartaj Aziz's visit to New Delhi, in a blow to the efforts to normalise their bilateral ties.
Aziz was expected to discuss terrorism and other outstanding issues with his counterpart Ajit Doval but he called of the trip after India asked Pakistan to give a commitment that he would not meet Kashmiri separatist leaders.
All leading newspapers carried the story about cancellation of NSA-level talks on the front page, highlighting the Indian "pre-conditions" which, according to local media, led to the breakdown of parleys.
In a front page headline "NSAs' talks cancelled over Indian conditions", the Dawn blamed Indian conditions for cancellation of talks.
"Amid intense bickering, the government decided on Saturday to cancel the planned meeting of national security advisers with India, citing New Delhi's refusal to allow an expanded agenda and a meeting with Kashmiri leaders," it said.
The News International under the headline "No talks with pre-conditions, Pakistan tells India" reported that "without waiting to burn the midnight oil and succumbing to 'orders' from New Delhi, Pakistan responded to the 'hilarious' Indian directives by saying that it will not attend the NSA level talks on the basis of preconditions set by India."
It further said that in the final word from Pakistan, "thankfully, the war of words came to an end on Saturday night with peace and better bilateral relations emerging as the biggest loser."
The Express Tribune termed the cancellation of talks as blow to the efforts of normalisation of India-Pakistan ties. "India's intransigence is to blame for the cancellation of the meeting between Aziz and his Indian counterpart Ajit Doval which was agreed upon by the prime ministers of the two countries in their meeting on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation in the Russian city of Ufa," it said.
The Nation carried a front page story "Stubborn India 'kills' peace hopes", saying India's attitude of inflexibility was the main reason for failure of purposed talks.
"An overbearing India yesterday dashed hopes for peace in the region by virtually murdering planned talks with Pakistan by putting 'unacceptable' conditions, though none of the two sides officially declared the death of dialogue," it reported.
The Urdu media and TV channels were even more harsh and squarely blamed India for the cancellation of talks. Media also tried to portray that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his government were not serious in talks with Pakistan and they just use the opportunity to address the domestic audience.