Ajmal Kasab's hanging not among main headlines in Pak news channels

Not a major story in Pak

Hours after the hanging of Ajmal Kasab in India, the news was no longer among the main headlines on the Pakistani channels, having been replaced by the events in Gaza and domestic developments.

Though state-run Radio Pakistan and private networks like Geo News led their morning bulletins with the development, by the afternoon it was no longer a major story.

The cautious handling by the news channels of the early morning execution of 25-year-old Kasab, the lone surviving Pakistani terrorist involved in the 2008 Mumbai attacks, reflected the muted response in the public sphere.

Most news outlets, including TV channels and websites of leading newspapers like Dawn and The Express Tribune, reported the event without offering any comment or analysis.

Kasab's Pakistani nationality has been a sensitive issue since the Mumbai attacks and reporting by the Pakistani media on most matters related to the assault, including the ongoing trial of seven Pakistanis, has mostly been perfunctory.

"There was a general impression that Kasab, like Afzal Guru, would not be hanged but this development has obviously put Pakistan in a bit of a shock," said Raza Rumi, editor of The Friday Times, while referring to the man sentenced to death for the 2001 attack on India's Parliament.

"Most Pakistanis have condemned the Mumbai attacks and, given the evidence, they will not react adversely to this hanging. However, a larger question remains and that deals with tackling extremism on both sides of the border which unfortunately is hostage to nation-state narratives," Rumi said.

Other analysts too contended that Kasab's hanging was unlikely to impact India-Pakistan relations at a time when leaders of both countries have been pushing for increased trade and people-to-people contacts.

President Asif Ali Zardari yesterday confirmed Pakistan's ratification of a new landmark visa agreement with India that creates new visa categories for tourists, businessmen and pilgrims.

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